China, India join hands in Nepal’s post-earthquake relief, says a top Chinese diplomat

A senior official has pledged that China will continue to help Nepal in its post-earthquake reconstruction.



“As a neighbor, China will do its best to help Nepal’s government and people to pull through the difficulties and reconstruct their home,” said Huang Xilian, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Asian Affairs, at a press briefing on Wednesday.



Some 360 tonnes of relief materials were due to be sent to Nepal on Wednesday afternoon and to arrive within four days. A hundred tonnes of materials from China’s military arrived in Nepal on Saturday and Sunday. Three helicopters from China’s air force flew to Nepal on Wednesday morning to help with transportation and rescue.



China has sent a total of seven medical and rescue teams. By Sunday, the three medical teams had diagnosed 2,234 people, treated 969 people, trained 714 medical staff and helped the Nepalese to formulate a post-disaster health and epidemic prevention plan.



Zheng Weibo, director of the emergency response office of the General Staff Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said the PLA, at the request of Nepal, also sent chemical defense and decontamination forces to help the country prevent a plague breakout.



Huang said the search and rescue phase has come to an end. Epidemic prevention and temporary housing of victims have taken over as priorities.



“The reconstruction is a long-term project. We have already asked Nepal what they need and we will send experts for more detailed discussions,” he said.



Huang noted that reconstruction of heavily damaged infrastructure, rehousing of victims and restoration of historic buildings will be prioritized.



Zhang Guoxin, an official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said China may also send experts to help local psychologists counsel victims.



China is also coordinating with India on relief work. “We have been talking to India about sending rescue and relief forces since the second day after the earthquake,” Huang said.



He said China will continue to communicate with India, and urge the international community to help Nepal.

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