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Bushes Express Condolences to Chinese; Cargo Aircraft Delivers Aid Team

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2008 – President and Mrs. Bush went to the Chinese embassy here today to express their condolences to the Chinese people following the devastating May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province.

Even as the Bushes signed a book of condolence, an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft with a five-member Air National Guard crew was landing in Chengdu, China, delivering a nine-member U.S. Agency for International Development team to help with search-and-rescue efforts in the devastated region.

“We've come to express our country's condolences for those who mourn for the loved ones,” Bush said at the embassy. “We stand ready to help in any way that the Chinese government would like. We know there's great courage being displayed … as rescue workers search for those who may still be living.”

The team will teach Chinese rescuers to use specialized search-and-rescue gear. Chinese officials said more than 34,000 people are known dead following to the 7.9 magnitude quake. The area has been hit by aftershocks that have reached magnitude 5.9, officials said.

Today’s mission was the third C-17 flight into the region.

The Chinese requested U.S help in obtaining satellite imagery of dams, reservoirs, roads and bridges. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has established a dedicated effort to provide that support, officials said.

Earlier C-17 flights delivered loads of food, water containers, blankets, lanterns, generators, and various hand tools to Chengdu.

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