China

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese floods survivors in urgent need of relief

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Heavy rains, swelling rivers and soaring temperatures continue to threaten some of the poorest areas of central and southern China, where residents have been battered by severe floods since late May.

Over the past two months, more than 200 million people have been affected and over 500 have been killed nationwide by the some of the worst flooding to hit the country in the last 10 years.

Nearly five million residents have been evacuated from their homes because water levels have risen dangerously high along China's vast rivers, while more flash floods, downpours and landslides are expected in the coming days. It is also extremely hot, which is making unbearable for people who have been displaced.

In order to provide immediate relief and support to around 400,000 vulnerable people, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is launching a preliminary emergency appeal for 9.5 million Swiss francs ($7.7 million USD/€5.7 million).

"There's an urgent need for rice, clean drinking water, shelter, clothing, medical services and disinfectant," says Qinghui Gu, the International Federation's regional disaster management delegate for East Asia.

"It's the rural poor who are suffering the most, including many farmers," he adds. "Millions of hectares of farmland have been submerged, while hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed."

Volunteers and staff from the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) have been responding to the floods since they started, assessing damage and needs, and distributing relief supplies in the hard-hit provinces of Anhui, Sichuan and Hubei. The International Federation has also already released 240,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the RCSC in getting help where it's needed quickly.

It may take several months or even years for the poorest communities to rebuild and recover, so the International Federation also plans to provide construction materials for some of the most vulnerable villages. Additional emphasis will be placed on making these communities more resilient in the face of future flooding.

"When you look at the economic growth of the country, it's easy to forget that outside of the major cities, the rural areas are home to many families living in utter poverty," says Ewa Eriksson, the acting regional head of delegation for the International Federation in Beijing.

"We don't want this disaster to become forgotten or neglected because the world's attention is elsewhere, or because there's a perception that help isn't required, because hundreds of thousands of people are in desperate need of assistance," she adds.

For further information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

Anna Nelson, Communications Officer for Asia & the Pacific in Geneva Tel: +41 22 730 4381/+41 79 724 2046

Media Service Duty Phone (Geneva) Tel. + 41 79 416 38 81