China

Six months on: Massive recovery programs taking shape in China

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Six months ago on May 12, 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 has since implemented an enormous humanitarian relief effort.

Recovery programs 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 require response on a variety of fronts to help people regain their resilience," said Yunhong Zhang, Asia program manager, Canadian Red Cross.

In addition to funding reconstruction in heavily impacted townships, the Red Cross will support communities with programs to restore livelihoods, improve water and sanitation infrastructure, and enhance the Red Cross Society of China's disaster management capacity. The Red Cross will also play a major role in helping to heal the psychological wounds felt by those affected.

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

Over the next three years the Canadian Red Cross will continue to support earthquake survivors through community based health programming and the reconstruction of health centres and over 2,000 homes.

During the relief phase of the earthquake operation, the International Red Cross 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.

In response to the massive shelter needs the Canadian Red Cross has delivered 7,250 urgently-needed tents to survivors and supported the Government of Canada's deployment of 700 additional tents. In addition, Canadian Red Cross aid worker, Yunhong Zhang, was deployed to lead the International Red Cross response, which has included the mobilization of 100,000 tents.

"Thanks to the generous support of Canadian donors and the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Red Cross will be able to continue to support survivors as they rebuild their homes, their lives and their communities in the months and years to come," adds Zhang.

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at www.redcross.ca, call 1-800-418-1111 or contact their local Canadian Red Cross office. The 24-hour toll free line accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "China Earthquake" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Canadian Red Cross Media Line, 613-740-1994