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September 7, 2011

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Shanghai blaze victims in plea over donations

Victims of a deadly blaze in Shanghai are claiming that a large proportion of donations made in its aftermath has still to be handed over.

They say the Shanghai Charity Foundation and its district branches received more than 44.8 million yuan (US$7 million) in donations, but up to now victims have only received 4.2 million.

The fire in a residential building on Jiaozhou Road last November killed 58 people and injured 71 others. Direct economic losses were put at 158 million yuan.

Wang Hong and another 20 victims compiled their statistics about donations from media reports. "I believe the actual donations will be even more," Wang said. "We were not able to collect all the stories covering the affair."

The victims group said donations came from all walks of life, including companies, temples, theaters and individuals.

The main recipient of donations was the charity foundation and its district branches. Donations also went to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau and Shanghai Senior Citizens Foundation.

The group has written an open letter to the city government, requiring that the donations be handed out.

"The city government established a special work team to deal with the aftermath of the disaster," the group wrote. "And apparently compensation and donation distribution is the duty of the work team."

Yesterday, the charity foundation responded to say that, up to Monday, it had received about 54.6 million yuan in donations, of which some 28.3 million yuan were distributed to the victims. The remainder of the donations would be distributed soon and there would be no fund management fee.

However, Wang said that if 28.3 million yuan had been distributed, each family should have received about 200,000 yuan on average, but his family received just 10,000 yuan.

"We hope they can publish the detailed accounts of the donations, thus we can feel at ease," he said.

The foundation said it would disclose the auditing results of the donation distribution at a later date.


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