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UNICEF mobilizing to help children affected by Ya’an earthquake

2013-04-22

Beijing, 21 April 2013- The death toll from the severe earthquake that struck southwestern Sichuan province early yesterday reached 180 by press time. Thousands of injuries have been reported. According to authorities, the tremor, which measured close to 7 on the richter scale, caused almost all buildings in the quake's epicenter - Longmen Township of Lushan County - to collapse. 

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) China Office is closely monitoring the disaster's impact on children living in the hardest hit areas. According to local media reports 10 children are among those killed.

On the day of the major quake Ministry of Civil Affairs and Sichuan Provincial Government mobilized swift and comprehensive support including shelter materials, food and water rations.

"We are very concerned about the physical and emotional condition of children living near the epicenter of the earthquake due to the reports that such a high percentage of buildings have collapsed," said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF China Representative. "We are standing by, ready to respond in whatever manner necessary."

UNICEF is in contact with its local partners to assess the effect of the severe tremor on children. In cooperation with the National Working Committee on Children and Women, UNICEF supports a network of more than 40 “Child Friendly Spaces” in Sichuan. Some of these Child Friendly Spaces are located close to the affected area. 

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For further information:

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