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Australia to increase quake aid to China

    CANBERRA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith announced on Tuesday his country will provide a further 1 million dollars (0.95 million U.S. dollars) to China to help rescue and recovery efforts following last week's devastating earthquake.

    Specialist cutting and lifting equipment will be sent to assist teams on the ground, following consultation with Chinese authorities, he said.

    "The Australian government will also provide, at the request of Chinese authorities, further basic emergency relief supplies such as generators, blankets, tarpaulins, jerry cans and water tanks to assist survivors," Smith told reporters.

    Australia has already offered an urban search and rescue taskforce and 1 million dollars through the International Federation of the Red Cross.

    "On behalf of the Australian government and the Australian people, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to China, and in particular to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy," he said.

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