As winter looms over the earthquake-battered landscape of Southwest China, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is requesting 70 million Swiss francs (USD 58 million or EUR 46 million) in additional funding to meet survivors' urgent needs for new homes and integrated recovery programmes.
This sum of 70 million Swiss francs will supplement the 97 million Swiss francs requested in its emergency appeal in May, bringing the total costs of ongoing humanitarian needs in Sichuan province to 167 million Swiss francs.
This funding will help approximately 22,500 families impacted by the 12 May earthquake in at least three devastated townships in Mianzhu County to rebuild their houses. Nearly 90 per cent of homes in this area were destroyed in the disaster.
The money will also be used to provide an additional 200,000 quilts to give those in temporary shelters and tents some protection against the cold. Some 100,000 quilts have been distributed already, with the balance being procured as quickly as possible.
In total, these funds will provide vital support to approximately 200,000 families over a 31-month period.
Mianzhu County is familiar territory, after three IFRC emergency units were deployed there immediately after the earthquake, to provide clean drinking water and sanitation for around 19,000 people, helping to prevent the spread of disease.
"The scale of people's need for housing is enormous," says Carl Naucler, Head of the Federation's East Asia Regional Delegation. "The global financial crisis is also adding to the pressure, in that the employment situation for survivors could become much more difficult."
Livelihoods assistance, to help families clear the rubble of their homes and replant crops, as well as longer term help to find ways of generating income, will be just one of the areas of integrated programming, accompanying the reconstruction.
The International Federation will also support the Red Cross Society of China in building up community-based health and psychosocial care programmes, restoring the water and sanitation infrastructure, and reinforcing protection against potential future disasters.
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