U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt presented a check for five-hundred-thousand dollars to the Red Cross to assist China’s relief efforts in areas affected by the earthquake that struck Sichuan Province May 12th. The funds are from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
"Our hearts sincerely go out to those whose lives have been so cruelly changed by this catastrophe," said Ambassador Randt. Noting that "President Bush has extended the helping hand of a friend," Mr. Randt, said the U.S. president "has instructed me, on behalf of the American people and the United States government, to present a check in the amount of five-hundred-thousand dollars to the Red Cross." The money, the Ambassador said, "is to be used to assist the victims of this devastating event, to help them through this traumatic period, and hopefully get them back on their feet as soon as possible."
Ambassador Randt had this message to the people of China: "Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this extremely difficult time." Accepting on behalf of the Red Cross Society of China was the organization’s Vice Chairperson Ms. Su Juxiang. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the U.S. knows from its experience with Hurricane Katrina that "offers of monetary assistance are really the things that are most useful" when disaster strikes.
Chinese authorities say nearly nineteen-thousand-five-hundred people have died in the devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan Province. Another thirty-thousand are reported missing. More than sixty-five-thousand are injured, authorities say. Poor weather conditions have hampered rescue efforts.
President George Bush expressed condolences to those injured and to the families of earthquake victims. Mr. Bush said, he was particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by the tragedy. "The United States," he said, "stands ready to help in any way possible."