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India to airlift relief material to China

Source: PTI
May 15, 2008 19:45 IST
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India will airlift tonnes of relief material, including tents, cutting machines, water purifiers and generators for earthquake-hit people in China from Saturday, marking the first-ever humanitarian assistance to its eastern neighbour.

Pix: Nature's fury, death & shattered lives

An Indian Air Force IL-76 medium-haul transport aircraft will leave New Delhi for Chengdu with 36 tons of tents and blankets as the first part of its pledged five-million dollar humanitarian assistance for relief activities in its Sichuan province devastated by a temblor, which claimed nearly 15,000 lives.

Another Iluyshin aircraft will leave from Kanpur on Monday carrying sleeping bags, wheel-chairs, stretchers, cranes and winches to be used in getting to people trapped under debris in the worst earthquake to hit China since 1976.

The Chinese have also asked India to rush portable cabins for setting up temporary accommodation for tens of thousands of people rendered homeless by the earthquake which registered 6.8 on the Richter scale.

"There could be more humanitarian flights if requested by the Chinese authorities," officials said in New Delhi.

The departure of the planes comes after an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said that New Delhi has decided to offer assistance of $5 million to China for its relief activities for the victims of the earthquake.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had sent message of condolence to his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and conveyed India's readiness to provide assistance to supplement China's relief efforts.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had each sent messages of condolence to the government and people of China.

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