The European Parliament (EP) passed here on Thursday a resolution on the devastating earthquake in China, voicing sincere condolences and solidarity to the people of China and welcoming the "prompt response to the disaster by the Chinese authorities by means of their emergency operation."
The resolution was passed with 525 votes in favor, 4 against and 4 abstentions.
The death toll from China's historic earthquake increased to 51,151 on Thursday, according to the Information Office of the State Council (cabinet) of China.
Another 288,431 people were counted as injured and 29,328 were still listed as missing as a result of the 8.0-magnitude quake that shook the southwestern province of Sichuan on May 12.
"The geographical conditions in Sichuan Province render the rescue work difficult," the EP resolution said, "the Chinese Government has deployed exceptional emergency resources and personnel, including soldiers and medical staff, who are working in the affected area."
The EP "expresses its sincere condolences and solidarity to the people of China and to the numerous victims; expresses sorrow to all those who are suffering the consequences of the earthquake."
The resolution "welcomes the prompt response to the disaster by the Chinese authorities by means of their emergency operation; notes with appreciation China's readiness to accept foreign assistance."
It also "urges the (EU) Council and Commission to provide emergency aid, technical assistance and reconstruction aid to the area affected."
The resolution "emphasizes the urgency of supplying primary emergency humanitarian aid through the ECHO program, backed by a large and adequate budget; notes the arrival of the Commission's humanitarian aid expert in Chengdu to assess needs."
It "supports the contribution which the EU Member States are making through the 'Civil Protection Mechanism', coordinated by the Commission, as well as other contributions to the relief efforts by the international community."
The document "welcomes the fact that the Chinese and foreign media are being allowed to provide detailed and accurate information on the disaster; underlines the importance of good governance in preventing and preparing for possible natural disasters."
It "calls for the development of technology for a comprehensive and effective early warning system to prepare populations to cope with earthquakes and other natural disasters."
The EP welcomed in the resolution the international community’s efforts to make available their best practice in civil emergency and disaster relief work in order to help China and its people who have been affected by the earthquake, calling on the organizations involved to provide enough financial aid for the accomplishment of the commitments.
(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2008)