China - IFRC urges public to support Red Cross Society of China amidst rising humanitarian needs of earthquake survivors

Published: 24 April 2013

Beijing / Geneva – 24.4.13 The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the public to support the efforts of the Red Cross Society of China as it mounts a major relief operation to help survivors of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Ya’an area of Sichuan province on April 20th.

The earthquake has claimed the lives of nearly 200 people, injured more than 12,000 and displaced 230,000 people from their homes.  The Red Cross Society of China currently has a response team of over 400 staff and volunteers working in Lushan County and nearby districts that are severely-affected. Supplies of food, drinking water, tents, quilts, and other relief items have already been distributed to thousands of survivors. Red Cross volunteers have also been playing a vital role in search and rescue efforts as well as providing medical care and psychosocial support to the injured.

Despite its rapid response to the disaster, the Red Cross Society of China has been the target of criticism on microblog sites and in the media, with allegations of a lack of financial transparency and accountability in their management of public donations.

“Instead of attacking the Chinese Red Cross, we ask people to judge them by their dedicated and professional work to help vulnerable survivors of this disaster,” says Martin Faller, head of the IFRC’s regional delegation for East Asia in Beijing. “The public needs to recognise that the Red Cross is going through a period of dramatic transformation in every respect, including its relationship with the government”, adds Faller. “This antagonism only serves to undermine its ability to help the survivors of this disaster”.

The Red Cross Society of China RCSC has consistently said it welcomes public scrutiny and calls for greater transparency. In recent years, the organisation has embarked on a major reform process, under which it has already significantly improved its transparency and accountability. It is publishing details online about how donations are used and it has put in place an independent scrutiny committee - which includes members of the public - which is tasked with investigating any allegations of malpractice should they arise.

For further information and to set up interviews contact:

In Beijing:

  • Francis Markus, East Asia Regional Communications Delegate, IFRC

Mobile : +86 139 100 96892 – E-mail : francis.markus@ifrc.org

In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific, IFRC
    Mobile : +60 122 308 451 – E-mail : patrick.fuller@ifrc.org

In Geneva:

  • Susie Chippendale, Manager, Corporate communication, IFRC

Mobile : +41 799 592536 – E-mail : susie.chippendale@ifrc.org

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil­lion people each year through its 187 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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