Hong Kong is responding quickly with help for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.
Major non-governmental organisations sent staff to the affected area to assess the situation and are mobilising supplies and resources.
"There are extensively damaged buildings here, fallen roofs and walls," Eleanor Lam of the Hong Kong Red Cross said by telephone from Longmenxiang, a badly hit area with no electricity or water supplies and where an estimated 99 per cent of buildings were destroyed.
"We are liaising with the Red Cross in Lushan and in Chengdu, and emergency supplies will be sent over shortly."
Lam said most people had lost their homes and were camping out in the open. Ambulances were transporting the seriously wounded away as Lam approached the town.
Those left had suffered only minor injuries "from falling bricks or debris", she said.
Betty Lau, head of international and relief services at the Hong Kong Red Cross, said three staff were on their way to Sichuan and that the organisation would decide what to do next once it had assessed the situation but that it had already decided to donate 1 million yuan (HK$1.3 million).
Oxfam Hong Kong sent a team of four from the charity's Chengdu office to Lushan county at noon to report on the situation.
A spokeswoman said Oxfam was preparing to transport the necessary emergency supplies to the area. Oxfam Hong Kong was ready to send a team from Kunming, Yunnan province, to the area as well if the situation proved serious, she said.
The organisation is appealing to the public for donations, and hopes to raise HK$1 million.
World Vision HK has donated HK$780,000 for emergency relief.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying offered his condolences to the quake's victims.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man - who was a volunteer doctor in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake - said the government would provide the necessary support for emergency relief efforts in Sichuan, and was in close contact with mainland authorities.
After the devastating earthquake in Sichuan in 2008, Hongkongers responded generously, raising more than HK$1 billion within a week. Doctors, aid workers and engineers travelled from Hong Kong to the scene to help with rescue work.
The Legislative Council allocated HK$9 billion and the Hong Kong Jockey Club gave HK$1 billion.
Oxfam Hong Kong sent emergency relief teams, helped with rebuilding and donated HK$166 million.
How To Donate
By bank transfer:
Hang Seng Bank account number 286-364385-003
HSBC account number 018-554444-001
Bank of China (Hong Kong) account number 012-883-0-002502-5
HONG KONG RED CROSS
By bank transfer :
Hang Seng Bank account number 267-175123-001
HSBC account number 567-650155-016
Bank of China (Hong Kong) account number 012-806-0-000161-7
Bank of East Asia account number 514-40-39966-3
OXFAM HONG KONG
By bank transfer in Hong Kong:
HSBC account number 047-834668-001
Bank of China (Hong Kong) account number 012-874-0-010515-7
By bank transfer in Macau:
Bank of China Macau 01-01-20-840951