Canadian working with Chinese Red Cross in response to earthquake

(Ottawa, February 24, 2003) - A Canadian Red Cross delegate is working in cooperation with the Chinese Red Cross to help survivors following a devastating earthquake that struck north-western region of China on Monday morning. France Hurtubise is based in Beijing with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Chinese Red Cross confirmed today that at least 250 people have been killed and 1,000 injured in the devastating earthquake, which struck the remote and arid north region of Xinjiang, measuring between 6.3 and 6.8 on the Richter Scale.

"The local Red Cross effort is being boosted by the dispatch of an emergency relief team from the Xinjiang Provincial branch based in the region's capital, Urumqi," says Kai Tao, member of the Canadian Red Cross Board of Governors. "They are traveling overland to the earthquake zone, bringing relief items including clothing and quilts for the homeless."

Pending the outcome of a needs assessment on the ground, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is on stand-by to provide any technical or financial support necessary. The Chinese Red Cross has released US$ 30,000 from its own funds for relief and has launched a countrywide appeal for support to the homeless.

For further information, or to set up interviews with France Hurtubise in Beijing or Kai Tao in Toronto, please contact:

Suzanne Charest
Communications Officer
(613) 740-1928
(613) 594-7405 (pager)

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