China earthquake: Red Cross Red Crescent boosts appeal to almost 97 million Swiss francs

Published: 30 May 2008

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has today increased its China earthquake appeal to 96.7 million Swiss francs (USD 92.7 million / euro 59.5 million) to support a three year emergency and recovery programme for approximately 500,000 earthquake affected people.

“People have lost so much and are very uncertain about their future, with continued aftershocks and the persistent threat of floods and mudslides we need to ensure that they are receiving the support critical to long term survival,” said Pablo Medina, IFRC operations coordinator for the China earthquake.

“The Red Cross Society of China has been working around the clock to provide basic relief, medical and shelter assistance and we are fully committed to supporting their efforts in any way we can.”

In the immediate term, the IFRC will support Chinese Red Cross volunteers and staff to meet the most critical needs of survivors, including emergency shelter, psychosocial support, the prevention and control of disease outbreaks and water and sanitation.

To this end, the IFRC is sending 100,000 tents to the affected areas. In addition, a Red Cross Red Crescent mass sanitation unit has been deployed today. Once operational it will provide sanitation facilities for 20,000 people, as well as produce crucial culturally and contextually appropriate hygiene promotional materials on site.

“This emergency response unit (ERU) contains 400 latrines that can be easily assembled within hours, as well as necessary tools to reduce the risk of disease,” explained Uli Jaspers, Head of water and sanitation for the IFRC, who was involved in the design of the unit.

In the coming days, the IFRC will also deploy two water and sanitation ERUs, each capable of providing clean drinking water for up to 15,000 people as well as a ‘base camp’ ERU – a mobile headquarters to help coordinate the increasingly complex operation.

In the longer term, Red Cross Red Crescent efforts will focus on the construction of health centres and schools, along with permanent homes for about 2,000 rural families whose houses were completely destroyed in the 12 May earthquake. A significant focus for the ongoing operation will be continued close collaboration with the Red Cross Society of China as they strengthen and develop their disaster management, health, and water and sanitation capacities.

The IFRC issued a preliminary emergency appeal for 20 million Swiss francs (USD 19.3 million / euro 12.4) on 15 May 2008. For more information on the Red Cross Red Crescent operation in China and for the full appeal document, visit www.ifrc.org.

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