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Chinese Team Offers Aid in Haiti

The 50-member Chinese International Rescue Team has added its weight to the international aid efforts in Haiti in the wake of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Haitian President Rene Prebal says about 7,000 victims have been buried at a cemetery outside the capital, but the death toll may be over 50,000.

The Chinese rescue team arrived at Port-au-Prince Thursday morning with three rescue dogs and some 20 tons of equipment and humanitarian aids.

The relief team was dispatched to administer medical aid and sift through the devastating wreckage looking for survivors.

On the plaza in front of the damaged prime minister's office building, a large number of injured locals stand in line waiting as the Chinese rescue team handed out medicines.

CRI correspondent Guo Yuxiang is in Port-au-Prince now. He says, until now, the medical works have been done well.

"The doctors are taking turns receiving the injured. Five patients were carried in at a time. Most of them suffered physical traumas and wounds that were exposed for a long time. The day is hot and medical conditions are very poor. I scratched my leg a little in an aftershock and now it is infected. You can see what happened to those who were seriously injured. Today I saw a young boy lying in his dad's arms and gave us a big thumb's up. But I learnt from doctors that they may need to cut off both of his injured legs because of the poor hygiene conditions", said Guo.

The team also headed to the United Nations compound that was badly damaged during the powerful quake.

Chinese team leader Huang Jianfa said although Chinese experts worked all day on Thursday, hopes were fading fast.

"This place has been seriously destroyed. We are currently searching to identify if there are any survivors. Our work is ongoing," said Huang.

Thirty-six UN workers have been confirmed dead so far.

Meanwhile, according to Guo Yuxiang, due to the water and power cut-off and severe food shortage, many Haitians are now in the streets looking for supplies.

"Many locals blocked the roads with their own cars and rocks. Also, many stopped their cars near gas stations trying to fill their tanks. In the capital, food, water and oil are in short supply", said Guo.

According to Chinese business envoy in Haiti Wang Shuping, 18 people working for Chinese companies in Haiti have been rescued. But eight Chinese peacekeeping police were killed and their headquarters destroyed. The relief team is now living in tents outside the damaged headquarters.

The Chinese relief team was amongst the first on the ground in Haiti. China's Red Cross Society has also decided to donate 1 million U.S. dollars in emergency aid, and has started to accept donations from the society. (CRI)

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