The Tents from All Parts of the World Are Erected in the Disaster-Hit Areas
"The disaster-hit areas are in urgent need of tents."
The Chinese people were deeply concerned when they heard this message delivered by the State Council Command & Control Center for Earthquake Disaster Rescue & Relief Operation. But for the comrades working in the diplomatic front, this message was an order.
The steering group for earthquake disaster rescue & relief operation and emergency response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an emergency meeting, requiring all comrades to try their bests to deliver tents to the disaster-hit areas in the shortest possible time.
All the departments took immediate actions, either making emergency calls to the foreign embassies to China or sending urgent telegraphs to Chinese diplomatic missions so as to convey the urgent needs of the victims to all parts of the world. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called urgently on the international community to give priority to tents while offering rescue and relief aid.
The Chinese embassies, general consulates and diplomats stationed in all parts of the world were mobilized to collect tents from official, civilian and commercial channels. The Chinese Embassy in the U.K. called an urgent meeting with the officials of U.K. and received a donation of 7,500 tents The Chinese Embassy in France searched every corner of the markets and was busy in finding the supplies of tents. They bought all the tents they could find. The Chinese diplomatic missions in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, and the Netherlands mobilized the overseas Chinese and collected thousands of tents. The Chinese Embassy in Mexico bought nearly one thousand tents with the funds donated by people from all walks of life. The Chinese Embassy in Sweden introduced the disastrous situation in Sichuan in detail. The Swedish side decided to check the inventory of tents across Sweden and pledged to offer more tents to China. The Chinese Mission to the European Union had never given up any chance and collected 9 military tents from a remote base in Czech. A tent producer in Sri Lanka decided to transfer to China 500 tents that had been sold when it obtained the information from the Chinese Embassy that the earthquake-hit areas in China were in urgent need of tents.
As the diplomatic missions carried out their work in a full-fledged manner, one piece of good news after another were sent back to China. The Chinese Embassy in Iran reported that Iran increased its aid from 700 tents to 3,000 tents. The Chinese Embassy in the U.S.A. reported that the U.S.A. would offer 5,655 tents. The Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations reported that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would provide 11,000 tents. The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan reported that the Pakistani side decided to donate its entire inventory of 22,260 tents to China. The Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia reported that Saudi Arabia decided to offer 99,300 tents. Within a few days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had collected nearly 180,000 tents from all parts of the world.
To improve the living conditions of the affected people in the disaster-hit areas at an early date, the Chinese diplomatic missions had exploited their own resources and channels to transport the tents to Sichuan through various means of transportation. The international flights of Air China, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines also did their best to transport the tents collected from all parts of the world to China under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and related departments. A cargo express company in Belgium replaced normal cargos with tents and changed their route to Chengdu. The airlines and transport companies in the U.S.A, Finland, and Mexico helped China transport tents free of charge. The Indian air force gave up their holidays and mobilized three chartered flights to transport tents. The four military transport aircrafts of Pakistan flew to Sichuan and 16 container trucks were heading toward Hongqilapu Port.
On May 14, an Il-76 transport aircraft from Russia landed at the airport of Chengdu. The first batch of tents donated by foreign countries were unloaded from the plane and transported to the disaster-hit areas. On May 17, another batch of tents from Russia arrived. On May 18, the tents from France and Italy arrived. On May 20, the tents from Saudi Arabia and Iran arrived. On May 21, the tents from Jordan, Ukraine and Singapore arrived. The tents from other countries were on the way to China.
The vehicles carrying the care and love of the international community arrived in the disaster-hit areas and the tents carrying the love and friendship of the people from all over the world were erected in the settlement areas. These tents represented the firm support and sincere assistance extended by the people in the world to the Chinese people and carried the hard work of the diplomat staff of China and their best wishes to the people in the disaster-hit areas.