Sichuan Earthquake: Following significant relief efforts, massive recovery programme taking shape in China

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Six months ago on 12 May 2008, a massive earthquake devastated south-western China, killing more than 80,000 people and displacing nearly 15 million people in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), as well as the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world have since implemented an enormous humanitarian relief effort.

Recovery programmes are anticipated to continue for an additional two and a half years and will focus on the reconstruction of tens of thousands of homes, as well as schools and health clinics.

"The magnitude and nature of this disaster have been such that we need to respond on a variety of fronts to the challenge of helping people regain their resilience," said Carl Naucler, Head of the IFRC's regional delegation for East Asia in Beijing.

In addition to funding reconstruction projects in heavily impacted townships, the IFRC will support communities with integrated programmes to restore livelihoods, improve water and sanitation infrastructure, and enhance the RCSC's disaster management capacity. The IFRC and the RCSC will also play a major role in helping to heal the psychological wounds caused to the affected people as a result of the earthquake and its repeated aftershocks.

As colder winter weather approaches, the IFRC is providing warm quilts, hygiene items and food parcels to families to help them through the next several months.

During the relief phase of the earthquake operation, the IFRC deployed 100,000 tents and supplied three Emergency Response Units that provided safe water and sanitation facilities to thousands of people displaced by the disaster. Between June and September 2008, the units provided more than 4,100 cubic meters of water during the most critical period, reaching more than 19,000 people.

An emergency appeal launched on 30 May 2008 has raised more than 84 million Swiss francs (USD 73.6 million or 57.4 million EUR). The IFRC has spent more than 45 million Swiss francs (38.7 million US Dollars or 31 million Euros) meeting emergency and early recovery needs, as well as nearly 17 million Swiss francs (14.6 million US Dollars or 11.7 million Euros) on quilts, hygiene items and food parcels.

With a balance of 23 million Swiss francs (19.8 million US Dollars or 15.8 million Euros), a revised appeal will soon be launched to support planned reconstruction efforts and integrated community-based programmes through approximately April 2011.

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

Francis Markus, regional communications delegate (China), Mobile: +86 139 100 96892

Jason Smith, communications manager (Kuala Lumpur), Mobile: + 60 123 87 0829

Anthony Mwangi, communications officer (Geneva), Mobile: + 41 79 245 7525

Media unit duty phone (Geneva), Mobile: + 41 79 416 3881