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January 25, 2010

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Medical team flies out from Beijing

A CHINESE medical care and epidemic prevention team left Beijing for Haiti yesterday afternoon, carrying with it 20 tons of medical supplies, the Ministry of Commerce said.

The ministry also said yesterday that China had decided to provide medical supplies worth 18 million yuan (US$2.64 million) in additional aid to Haiti.

The supplies included medicines, hygiene equipment, medical devices and camping equipment.

Also on board the chartered plane were four Chinese peacekeeping police officers, replacing the four killed in the earthquake. China maintains a 125-member peacekeeping force in Haiti.

The flight was expected to arrive at Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, at 3pm today local time.

The ministry said the 40 medical personnel in the team came from China's military medical system and 70 percent of them had participated in previous United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Many had been involved in the massive rescue mission after the Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, which left about 90,000 people dead or missing.

At the departure ceremony, Qian Lihua, director of the Ministry of Defense's foreign affairs office, said China was carrying out its responsibility as a UN Security Council member to help the Haitian people with concrete actions.

Qian said he expected the medical team to accomplish its mission in a professional manner by helping the Haitian people ward off the threat of post-quake epidemics.

The Ministry of Commerce said China had provided humanitarian aid worth 48 million yuan in materials and other supplies to Haiti, apart from US$3.6 million in cash.


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