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Australia offers expert rescue help to China

Source: Xinhua | 05-13-2008 14:37

Special Report:   Strong quake jolts SW China

CANBERRA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said here on Tuesday that his country had offered search and rescue experts to help China with an earthquake that has left at least 10,000 dead.

The government also was in discussions with Beijing about what humanitarian assistance Australia can provide, he said in a statement.

"The Australian government stands ready to provide practical assistance and has already offered Australia's expert urban search and rescue capabilities through Emergency Management Australia," the foreign minister said.

In the statement, Smith expressed condolences on behalf of all Australians. "I extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the terrible earthquake in Sichuan province."

"Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families in Chengdu city and surrounding areas," he said.