China: The International Federation president visits earthquake-affected areas

Published: 3 June 2008

The president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro Rivero, and the vice-president, Tadateru Konoe, will visit the regions affected by the devastating 12 May earthquake on 4 and 5 June.

While in China, Mr. Suárez del Toro will visit affected communities to pay tribute to the thousands who died as a result of the earthquake and the millions of survivors who struggle to cope with the reality of daily life. He will also thank the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly since the first hours of the earthquake to provide much needed relief and assistance.

“Millions of displaced and homeless people are very worried about their future,” said Mr. Suarez del Toro. “It’s important that we know their needs and implement early recovery activities together with the affected communities and key local, national and international stakeholders.”

Mr. Suarez del Toro and Mr. Konoe will be accompanied by Madame Peng Peiyun, the president of the RCSC, and Madame Jiang Yiman, the executive vice-president. Together they will visit the most severely affected areas of Dujiangyan and Mianzhu in Deyang Prefecture.

The IFRC has launched a 96.7 million Swiss francs (USD 92.7 million / euro 59.5 million) appeal to support a three year emergency and recovery programme for approximately 500,000 earthquake affected people. The funds will be used to assist 100,000 people over the next 12 months, and will finance earthquake relief and recovery programmes, including distribution of emergency relief, temporary and permanent housing, water and sanitation, health services, rebuilding schools and clinics, as well as recruiting and supporting Red Cross volunteers and teams specialized in relief coordination, medical care, and psychosocial support.

In Sichuan, more than one million earthquake survivors have received relief items from the Red Cross. More than 200 Red Cross trucks transport relief items on a daily basis and around 500 Red Cross volunteers are involved in providing logistics support and psychosocial counselling.

“The courage and dedication of the 35,000 volunteers and staff of the Red Cross Society of China to help the affected earthquake people shows the real commitment of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,” added Suárez del Toro.

The RCSC has requested up to 100,000 tents from the IFRC, as stocks in China have been depleted. The IFRC has also deployed two water and sanitation emergency response units, each capable of providing clean water for up to 15,000 people.