WHO rushes more medical aid to China, sends health experts

Manila  - The World Health Organization (WHO) is rushing more medical supplies to China to help treat more than 130,000 victims of a deadly earthquake last week, the organization's Manila-based Western Pacific region office said Thursday.

WHO said it is also sending an expert team to collaborate with the Chinese government in rebuilding its health infrastructure in the aftermath of the May 12 magnitude 8.0 temblor that killed at least 41,000 people.

"WHO has already identified that the key health issue in the earthquake's aftermath is to prevent and control communicable disease outbreaks," Eric Laroche, assistant director-general for WHO's Health Action in Crises cluster, said.

"But the longer-term challenge is how to best rebuild its damaged health infrastructure," he added.

The organization will also provide equipment to ensure clean drinking water and proper sanitation, which is vital for controlling any outbreak and spread of communicable diseases such as diarrhoea. The supply will include 5,000 chlorine disinfection tablets, drinking-water treatment units and mobile toilets.

About 5 million people were left homeless by the earthquake that crushed most buildings in many towns and villages in the mountainous area of Sichuan province in south-western China. (dpa)