Sichuan earthquake: Thousands to benefit from Red Cross Red Crescent quake reconstruction effort

Published: 15 January 2009

For the past few months, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has been focusing on reconstruction, recovery and disaster risk reduction actions.

The IFRC and RCSC are supporting beneficiaries with an owner-driven model of home reconstruction in a total of 17,540 village homes in the townships of Jiulong, Banqiao and Zundao in Sichuan. With just a few days to go before the Chinese New Year, it will be a muted celebration for many survivor families, emotionally and financially. Against a background of sharp economic downturn, the Red Cross Red Crescent programme of livelihoods support is set to become increasingly crucial.

“We are helping thousands of families, first to clear away the rubble of their destroyed homes, so they can start rebuilding,” says Carl Naucler, head of the IFRC’s East Asia regional delegation. “We are also rolling out measures to support people in planting new crops or buying equipment to start small businesses or whatever their most pressing need is.”

In the face of the quake zone’s shattered infrastructure, the RCSC has also identified 56 township schools, 132 township clinics and 169 village health stations within Sichuan and the other two worst-hit provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi, that will require support from Red Cross Red Crescent partners.

Further, the RCSC is also looking to construct disaster preparedness centres and continue developing capacities in this field.

“These disaster centres will be equipped with relief stocks, vehicles and information technology equipment to enhance the capacity of the RCSC,” notes Naucler. He adds that the strategic locations of these centres in the disaster-prone areas will help the Red Cross Red Crescent to respond more effectively and efficiently.

On 21 November 2008, the IFRC requested for 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 2008, bringing the total costs of ongoing humanitarian needs in Sichuan province to 167 million Swiss francs. The IFRC’s Sichuan earthquake operation is expected to end in December 2010.