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China blocks entry to UK rescuers

Posted by Author on May 18, 2008

BBC News, 17 May 2008-

A UK search and rescue team who flew to China after the earthquake have been denied visas and forced to return home without being able to help.

The International Rescue Corps team arrived in Hong Kong with specialist search equipment on Wednesday.

But for reasons that remain unclear, the 10-strong UK team and a Canadian group were blocked from entering China.

China has sent 50,000 troops to Sichuan province to search for survivors of the earthquake, which has killed 28,000.

‘Every possible route’

International Rescue Corps (IRC) team member Derek Jolly, 38, told the BBC News website that the team had initially been promised visas, “but when we arrived, suddenly the game had changed”.

He said the team, which is voluntary and funded by donations, had “gone down every possible diplomatic and political route” with no success.

“What was disappointing for us was the Chinese government sent out a kit list with their initial request for help, saying this is what we need,” said Mr Jolly.

“We then sent them a message through the consulate saying we have pretty much everything on the list.”

The team brought with them specialist equipment including carbon dioxide probes and sonic equipment for listening to people in voids in buildings.

Mr Jolly said he could not be certain of the reason why the team was denied entry, but suggested a possible reason was a lack of infrastructure at the earthquake zone for foreign rescue teams……. (more details from BBC News)

2 Responses to “China blocks entry to UK rescuers”

  1. Chine is having a bit of weird descision this days, there food are now blocked by many countries… i hope it will get fix..

  2. batguano101 said

    Gotta Light buddy?

    Perhaps China did not like the UK “torch” fiasco or open discussion of it on the BBC.

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