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Yao sets up hotline for quake victims

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Rockets star Yao Ming has set up a hotline to help North American Chinese residents reach family and friends in China following a series of earthquakes there.

The latest series of quakes struck Wednesday in a remote, mountainous Tibetan region. At least 589 people have been killed and more than 10,000 are injured.

"I feel very sad for them," Yao said Wednesday, before the Rockets played their season finale against New Orleans. "I wish the rest of the people there, the families, good treatment. In the future, we still need a lot of people to help. I am going to find out what I can do."

Yao, out this season after left foot surgery, created a foundation in June 2008, about a month after a massive earthquake struck the Sichuan province. Yao created his foundation with a $2 million donation to rebuild schools in the affected area.

Yao said he's not sure yet what role his foundation will play in the latest recovery effort.

"This happened now, so, we still don't know," Yao said. "Lot of questions. We have some experience now. Obviously, we can do better than last time."

The hotline number is (718) 766-9636. A recorded message in English and Mandarin asks the caller to enter the phone number of the person they are trying to reach in China.