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UNICEF continues support for China earthquake recovery - Detailed report on aid for children and women released at one year anniversary


BEIJING, 11 May 2009 – One year after a devastating 8.0 Richter scale earthquake hit China’s Sichuan province, extensive assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is reaching some of the most vulnerable children and women in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.

A new report, launched today at a Beijing press conference, outlines how UNICEF has assisted the Government of China in education, health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, psychosocial support, child protection, HIV/AIDS and social policies for children.

UNICEF has provided US$20 million dollars for earthquake relief and recovery over the past twelve months. Assistance has been delivered, in cooperation with national and local government agencies, in 29 counties and districts across 3 provinces covering a population of 2.5 million children and 4 million women.

“The scale of the Sichuan earthquake was large and the Government of China has made tremendous progress in providing shelter for families, getting children back to school and repairing damaged infrastructure in the earthquake zone,” said Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative for China, “We will continue to support these efforts, with emphasis on children and women, as there are still many families who need assistance to return to their normal lives.” UNICEF plans to continue assistance for earthquake recovery through 2011.

The earthquake struck in a region where some of China’s poorest counties are located, and where UNICEF had been working with local authorities to help poor, vulnerable children and women for many years. As a result of the Sichuan earthquake, an astonishing 5 million people have lost their homes, in comparison with about 1.7 million people who were displaced by the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

To date, about half of UNICEF earthquake funds have supported health, water and sanitation interventions. One third of available funds have gone toward helping children return to safe, well equipped, “Child Friendly” schools. The remainder has supported child protection, psychosocial support, shelter and other costs.

UNICEF has prioritized detailed reporting on the use of all emergency donor funds. At the one, three, six month and now the one year anniversary of the quake, detailed reports have been produced to document how these funds have been utilized.

“We were only able to respond as quickly and effectively as we did to support the Chinese government’s efforts in this emergency because of the swift and generous support of our donors,” said Dr. Nwe. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to help meet the needs of children.

UNICEF has received donations totalling US$37 million so far, and is aiming to raise a total of US$45 million dollars to finance its medium to long term projects in the earthquake zone.

About UNICEF in China:

UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the war of liberation. In 1979 UNICEF recommenced its cooperation with the Government of China which today supports child health and nutrition, clean water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230,
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806,

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