President George W. Bush came to American Red Cross national headquarters this morning to take part in a discussion on the U.S. response to the China earthquake.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, talks with Bonnie McElveen Hunter, chairman of the Board of Governors, American Red Cross, at the conclusion of a forum on China earthquake relief.
In his remarks President Bush said, ""My message to the Chinese government is, thank you for welcoming our aid. Thank you for taking a firm response to this disaster, and just know the American people care about the people of China."
The forum, which reinforced the importance of collaboration between the private and public sectors, was co-hosted by the American Red Cross, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. More than 30 leaders from humanitarian organizations, the business community and government, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson attended.
The American Red Cross announced that it is doubling its contributions to the disaster from $10 million to $20 million. The American Red Cross is also preparing to send a relief delegate to China for six months to support the Chinese Red Cross in managing the effective delivery of relief assistance.
The American Red Cross response to the earthquake has been bolstered by generous contributions from more than 80,000 individuals and 60 corporations.
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross Board of Governors, moderated the discussion. In her remarks, McElveen-Hunter stated, "This morning, we are talking about people helping people, as we come together from all sectors to provide assistance and care for the people of China during this critical time."
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, USA, gave the high-level group the latest information on the situation in Sichuan province and addressed the long-term needs of the survivors. He said the Chinese people many have lost their homes, but they are not hopeless.
President George W. Bush speaks to a forum hosted by the American Red Cross, the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to address the response to the China earthquake. To his left is Bonnie McElveen Hunter, chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross and to his right is John Castellani, president, Business Roundtable.
Sam Worthington, President and CEO of InterAction, moderated a discussion about the immediate relief and care being provided to affected communities. World Vision Senior Vice President for International Programs, Ambassador George Frank Ward, Jr., led a panel discussion on long-term needs and challenges. Leaders from the various sectors then briefed President Bush on the situation from their various perspectives.
The meeting was concluded by remarks from John J. Castellani, President of the Business Roundtable, and Arthur J. Rothkopf, Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President, U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Executive Vice President of the Business Civic Leadership Center, who addressed next steps and the importance of working together to ensure that the long-term needs are met.
While all the participants recognized that the recovery will be a long process, they were heartened by the effectiveness of the initial response and by the outpouring of support from around the world.
Ambassador Zhou concluded by saying, "I just want to say that I appreciate all you have done at the Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, and the US-China Business Council, and I want to thank the American public through you for all their help, generosity and sympathy."
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.