|Response to enquiries on NGOs' post-quake support work in Sichuan
In response to media enquiries about post-quake support work conducted by Hong Kong non-government organisations (NGOs) in Sichuan, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (July 25) said the following:
"Regarding the media's enquiries about the case of The Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministry, a charitable organisation in Hong Kong, which encountered difficulty in delivering relief materials to Sichuan, the Bureau first learned about the difficulties faced by the association on July 22. We immediately reflected the situation to the relevant authority within the Sichuan Provincial Government, and requested them to provide assistance as far as possible in accordance with the relevant Mainland regulations. We understand that the relevant Mainland authorities have agreed in principle to give customs clearance of the association's relief materials. The Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministry has received funding from the HKSAR Government Disaster Relief Fund before to carry out disaster relief support work on the Mainland, including Sichuan.
"In respect of earlier enquiries from a number of Hong Kong voluntary organisations which stated that their discussions with the Sichuan Provincial Government on post-quake work had been halted, we had promptly liaised with the concerned Mainland authorities to follow up on the matter. We had conveyed the HKSAR Government's position that Hong Kong voluntary organisations with experience in conducting relief work on the Mainland, such as Oxfam Hong Kong and Hong Kong Red Cross, should be able to continue their support work programmes which had already begun in the disaster areas. We understand that the Sichuan Provincial Government has resumed discussions with them on the work plans ahead.
"As for other NGOs who wish to participate in post-quake support work in Sichuan, we will discuss further with the Sichuan Provincial Government as soon as possible on the implementation details for our reconstruction support work. We will announce these details once they have been agreed. However, we understand that the Sichuan Provincial Government's capability in receiving and liaising with the Hong Kong NGOs is limited, owing to their extremely heavy workload in? post-quake reconstruction."