ACT Update China: Assistance to flood affected ASCN52 - Floods Worsen

Geneva, 4 July 2005
One month into China's rainy season and flood related losses across the country are already into the billions of dollars. Floodwaters and landslides have inundated and leveled hundreds of thousands of homes, flattened millions of hectares of standing harvest and decimated the livestock in 22 provinces. Over three million people have had to be evacuated.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, severe flooding (the worst in 100 years) devastated Guangxi Zhuan Autonomous Region between 18 - 17 June claiming 54 lives and causing economic damage in excess of 840 million US$. Continuous rainfall over the past two weeks has affected over seven million people and all the major rivers in the area are flowing well above danger level. 45,000 houses have been destroyed along with 410,000 hectares of farmland. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the main reason for devastation of houses is the poor quality of construction materials. Many of the farmers are unable to afford proper materials such as cement, consequently, many houses are built of mud-based sealant which is unable to stand up to flood waters. Villagers who have been displaced are now living in tents, provided by the Red Cross or the government.

Many of the people most affected are subsistence farmers who are being pushed further into poverty and destitution, not only because of the massive loss of crops, but also the lost of their livestock.

Based on weather patterns over the past years, the rainy season is expected to continue until the end of August causing more problems in flood-prone areas across the country.

ACT Appeal ASCN52, issued 21 June, comprises an emergency relief and rehabilitation proposal from ACT member the Amity Foundation for vulnerable flood affected people in Xinshao, Lianyuan, Anhua and Xinhua Counties in Hunan Province and Qingzhen Counties in Guizhou Province. However, the most recent floods in Guangxi Zhuan Autonomous Region are more severe and Amity wishes to provide emergency relief to this area.

ASCN52 will be revised to include the emergency response to the flooding in Guangxi Zhuan Autonomous Region. An advance of US$ 40,000 will be taken from the Rapid Response Fund to be replenished from the appeal. However, funding for the ASCN52 Appeal has currently only reached US$ 6,000 out of a requested US$ 515,634. We therefore strongly urge our donors to consider funding this very urgent request.

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, White Rakuba (phone ++41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Mieke Weeda (phone ++ 41 22 791 6035 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 285 2916)