First Indian plane with relief supplies reaches China

May 17th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying relief supplies Saturday landed in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, which was hit by a devastating earthquake Monday. The quake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale, has so far killed over 28,800 people and left nearly 200,000 homeless, according to Xinhua news agency.

The IAF flight reached Sichuan’s capital Chengdu at 5.45 p.m. local time. A senior official of the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government, Ran Jinjun, received the relief supplies. India’s ambassador to China, Nirumpama Rao, Consul General of Guangzhou Gautam Bambawale and senior officials of the provincial administration were also present at the airport.

Indian external affairs ministry statement said that Jinjun expressed gratitude to the “friendly people of India and the government of India for their timely assistance following the earthquake”.

The consignment comprises tents, blankets and other relief supplies. A second aircraft carrying relief supplies would reach Chengdu Monday with medicines, tents and sleeping bags.

India first offered an assistance of $5 million to China May 15 as “an expression of sympathy and support of the people of India”.

President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee have already sent messages of condolence to the government and people of China.

India’s offer of assistance came a couple of days after Beijing expressed its willingness to accept international aid.

Early this week, the prime minister wrote to his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and expressing India’s grief with the “brethren of China” and offered assistance to deal with the situation.

Domestic and international donations have exceeded $850 million, Xinhua reported, adding that rescue teams from Japan, Russia, Republic of Korea and Singapore have already started missions in quake-affected areas.

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