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2008 quake relief goods found rotting

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iol news pic Sichuan quake 2008

REUTERS

Children play in the ruins of a collapsed house after an earthquake hit Lixi town of Huili County, Sichuan province, September 1, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

Beijing - Relief goods meant for victims of a deadly earthquake in China's Sichuan province six years ago have been found rotting in a storeroom, media reported Wednesday, sparking online anger at officials.

The bundles of food, clothes and supplies were found after residents living near Mianyang in the southwestern province complained of a stench in a nearby building, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The 8.0-magnitude disaster in May 2008 left more than 80,000

people dead or missing Ä including thousands in Mianyang Ä and saw worldwide contributions to humanitarian relief efforts.

The Beijing Youth Daily said a village official, Guo Fangping, had been suspended following attempts to cover up the existence of the cache.

“Do not blame people for not giving donations the next time there is a natural disaster,” said one angry comment on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

“You (officials) have made the Chinese people lose hope. Hurry up and leave office!”

Another Weibo user said: “Don't these officials who are neglectful of disaster victims have a tortured conscience?”

Many Chinese are distrustful of local bureaucrats, while some are suspicious of donating to charities and aid agencies as there is a perceived lack of transparency and openness in the sector.

In 2011 China's Red Cross vowed to make public all donations it receives after it was embroiled in controversy following allegations of corruption.

Sapa-AFP


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