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January 15, 2010

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Chinese disaster-expert crew arrives in capital

A CHINESE emergency rescue team arrived in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince early yesterday.

Eight Chinese are still missing in the wake of the earthquake.

The Chinese rescue team of more than 60 people and three sniffer dogs left Beijing on Wednesday night along with 10 tons of food, equipment and medicine.

China's Red Cross Society pledged US$1 million in emergency aid.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in Beijing four of the missing Chinese were peacekeepers while the other four were from a six-member working group with the Ministry of Public Security.

The eight Chinese were holding talks with UN staff in the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Port-au-Prince when the massive earthquake hit, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Other Chinese in Haiti, including more than 130 peacekeepers and those working for China's trade office, enterprises and other organizations, were safe, said Jiang.

The Chinese peacekeeping unit mobilized 53 police officers and more than 400 local people to search for the missing before the rescue team arrived.

International rescue teams from the United States, Iceland and Puerto Rico have also arrived in Haiti to join the rescue effort at the UN building and elsewhere.

Three of the eight peacekeeping police officers buried in Haiti's huge earthquake are from southwest China's Yunnan Provincial Public Security Border Defense, and one had a pregnant wife at home, the organization said yesterday.

A spokesman for the authority said two men and a woman with the defense organization were buried.

Since a 24-hour hotline was launched immediately after the quake by the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under China's Foreign Ministry, it has received more than 300 inquiries.

"We will closely follow the disaster and aid information and try our best to offer assistance to overseas Chinese in Haiti," Jiang said.


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