Notes following Handover of Cheque to International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Chinese Ambassador, First Floor East Wing, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Friday 30 May 2008

Remarks by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad

Let me welcome His Excellency, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa, the South African representative of the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent Society and also co-ordinator for the Southern African region.

Today, South Africa, like the rest of the world, is expressing our support to the Chinese government and people following the disastrous earthquake on 12 May 2008.  As you are aware, it is expected that over 88000 people have been killed, hundreds of thousands injured and massive destruction of property and infrastructure.

The Chinese Red Cross and Red Crescent Society has appealed for US$ 90 million in assistance.  South Africa is making its contribution towards the appeal by the Chinese Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

As you are aware, in the last few days, South Africa has itself experienced unsurpassed attacks against foreigners in our country which has been condemned by the vast majority of South Africans – both at the political level and civil society.  We ourselves have always received support from the international community when we have experienced certain humanitarian disasters and tragedies. 

So it is incumbent upon us, as one humanity, to appeal to the appeal by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society and I am therefore very happy that on behalf of the South African government, I can pass over this contribution to His Excellency.

Remarks by Representative of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society

Minister, Your Excellency, on behalf of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and our Secretary-General in Geneva, we are very pleased to receive this donation towards our international appeal that was launched on 15 May 2008 to support our member, the Chinese Red Cross in China.

As already discussed, the Chinese Red Cross and the government of China has been very capable of addressing this situation with the support of all stakeholders in the country and off course, it is our duty from the Red Cross to support these activities.  We therefore launched this appeal immediately to support the people in China. 

Suffering is happening in many locations at this time – brothers and sisters in Myanmar are also experiencing the same tragedy and your country, Your Excellency is also suffering at this time. 

On behalf of the international federation we want to express our congratulations to your government (China) for addressing this situation and assure you that we will continue to support you for as long as you need.

It is our pleasure Honourable Minister to facilitate this process so that we can transfer your gift to the Chinese government and people and Chinese Red Cross.

Thank you very much for your kind gift.

Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to South Africa

Thank you.  This is a very touching and moving moment for me.

On behalf of the Chinese people, Chinese Red Cross and Chinese government to receive this generous donation from the South African government and people is a great support to our now struggling Chinese people in the affected areas.  We are grateful.

We have a high rate of casualties and it is still very critical and difficult to access this area particularly because of the landslides and potential flooding.

The government is managing quite well with the entire Chinese population being mobilised and we have also received great support from the whole world.  We are very grateful indeed.

We also learnt that this world can be affected by these major disasters from time to time but with the support of the international community we are helping ourselves, we are helping each other and we can all do a great job to help ourselves.

Thank you again for the support from the South African government and people and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

30 May 2008

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