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Briefing on Qinghai Yushu Earthquake and Relief Efforts

EU Institutions,

Media Outlets,

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the EU institutions and the governments and people in Europe for the strong care, support, and condolences you offered in the wake of the Qinghai Yushu earthquake. The following is the briefing on this disaster and our government’s rescue work. We wish to receive your continued care and support in our relief efforts.

                                                                                                   —Song Zhe, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU


The 7.1 magnitude earthquake on April 14th in the Yushu county in Qinghai Province devastated, within seconds, the beautiful ancient town in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture into heart wrenching rubbles and debris, inflicting grave loss of lives and property. By April 16th, the death toll has risen to 791 with another 294 missing and 11,486 injured. Fifteen thousand residential buildings were flattened, leaving behind 100,000 people homeless.

The earthquake pulled the heart strings of government leaders in China. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao requested that every effort should be made to ensure effective rescue and relief work, credible accommodation measures for the quake-hit population, and social stability in the region. President Hu Jintao postponed visits to Venezuela and Peru and is returning to China ahead of time. Premier Wen Jiabao has rescheduled planned visits to Brunei, Indonesia and Myanmar, and has traveled to the disaster-hit area to offer guidance on relief efforts.

The earthquake pulled the heart strings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. As we got through the difficult moments of the Wenchuan earthquake, we learned to have, in the face of unexpected natural disasters, a stronger and more resolute heart, and firmer and more coordinated actions. Rescuers are now doing all their best to seize every second of the first golden 72 hours for search and rescue, and are trying their utmost to minimize casualties. Everyone reaches out a helping hand to the suffering ones. The need of the Yushu people is also the need of action for the rest of the Chinese. Putting people first and honoring life is our cherished value, and again that’s what we can see behind the backs of the rescuers on the rubbles.

The safety of Tibetan compatriots in the disaster area pulled the heart strings of all Chinese nations. The spirit of uniting for strength and sharing difficulties is beyond appreciation when we see people of all ethnicity making active donations and setting up rescue teams. In less than a day after the quake, donations from Beijing, Shanghai, and all across China poured into the worst-hit areas. For Tibetans, Hans and Qiangs, our hearts beat as one as we confront this disaster. Working side by side and hand in hand, we are determined to rebuild our homes.

The earthquake pulled the heart strings of governments and peoples around the world. Many countries have sent us consolation letters, expressing the will to stand by and support us in disaster relief and reconstruction. We appreciate that the European Union is also with us at this very moment. President Barroso of the Commission, President Buzek of the Parliament, and President Sepi of the European Economic and Social Committee have expressed their deep condolences and the will to assist us at any moment. We are sincerely grateful for these acts of kindness and cherish our profound friendship with the EU and the European people.

I believe with the strong leadership of the Chinese government, the firm support of all Chinese, and the faithful assistance of governments and people in all countries, the people in Yushu will without any doubt overcome this disaster, quickly regain what they used to have, and rebuild their beautiful homes.

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