Teams of rescue and medical workers from China’s close neighbours and allies are already scattered around the Sichuan earthquake zone, but they will now be reinforced by other foreign teams.
Beijing has announced it is welcoming international teams from today.
For some the earthquake is providing a timely opportunity to do good and brush up a tarnished image. Many Western companies doing business in China suffered boycotts last month after pro-Tibetan protestors marred the passage of the Olympic torch in Europe and the USA. But aid still takes time to arrive.
“There are 19 of us living here, and one of us is sick,” said one survivor in front of a temporary shelter.
French retail giant Carrefour has become the single biggest aid donor.
While the authorities admit tens if not hundreds of thousands may have to wait months before being decently housed again, schools are resuming work under canvas or outdoors, and with problems finding safe locations for emergency services in the disaster zone, ways are being found to take the emergency services to those in need.
Trains are being converted into mobile hospitals as transport networks are the first things being repaired and are easier to get up and running than erecting new buildings. Shelter is vital, as it is the height of the rainy season.