The German Government is further increasing its support for those affected by the earthquake in China's Sichuan province. Tomorrow (24 May), on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office, 22 experts from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) will depart for the earthquake zone from Frankfurt-Hahn airport along with six water purification units and a laboratory. The units can provide drinking water for tens of thousands of people per day, while the laboratory will enable the experts to constantly monitor water quality. A THW expert was seconded to the German Embassy in Beijing a week ago to advise the aid coordinators.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (23 May) in Berlin:
"Help is still urgently required in the earthquake region. It is particularly vital that the survivors have access to clean drinking water, as the earthquake destroyed most of the water mains. The Federal Government is doing all it can to help meet that need. The THW's experience in drinking-water purification is unique worldwide. Germany remains ready to provide any assistance those in need may require."
The THW mission to the earthquake zone is in response to China's request to the Federal Foreign Office. The latter is financing the operation to the tune of 700,000 euro. This means that the Federal Foreign Office has made available a total of 2.6 million euro for humanitarian aid to date. These funds have gone towards, among other things, a German Red Cross mobile hospital currently being set up in Dujiangyan. Additionally, Caritas International has received support towards the procurement of 1,900 urgently needed tents.
Last week a German benefit concert in Chongqing, as part of the "Germany and China - Moving Ahead Together" series of events, raised a further 10 million euro in donations. Moreover, the German people and the German business community have shown considerable willingness to donate funds.