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Germany

Germany Denies China Quake Fatality

Germany denied Friday a claim by the Chinese embassy in Washington that a German national is among the fatalities of China's deadliest earthquake in a generation.

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Earthquake survivors sift through the rubble in Dujiangyan, in China's Sichuan Province

"It is true that a German has died in the south of China, but it was not because of the earthquake," a German Foreign Ministry spokesman in Berlin told news agency AFP, without identifying the person in question.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, Wang Baodong told reporters that the person was a "foreign expert" based in China but did not provide other details.

"As of Friday, the foreign ministry has received reports of one death -- of a German citizen who was stationed in China as a foreign expert, after he or she tried to escape from the quake," Wang said. "And besides that, the foreign ministry has received no reports of other casualties of foreigners in the disaster areas," he said.

The earthquake has claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

Meanwhile, the German government on Friday increased its earthquake relief grant to China to 1.5 million euros ($2.3 million), saying the money would be sent via the Red Cross.

Earlier in the week Berlin had earmarked 500,000 euros for relief. The Foreign Ministry in Berlin said the tripled sum would buy relief materials for distribution by the Chinese Red Cross.

The federal government's volunteer civil-defense service, the THW, said Friday its earthquake expert had arrived the previous day at the German embassy in Beijing to advise on how German rescue teams might help recover the dead and injured from toppled Sichuan buildings. Chinese rescue squads are already being assisted by teams from other nations.

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