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UNICEF relief efforts reach tens of thousands of children in China's quake zone

© UNICEF China

Beijing, 24 December 2008 - Six months after the devastating earthquake that left 88,000 people dead or missing, UNICEF continues to work in the earthquake zone to build back a better life for children.

"UNICEF is working with the Government of China to build back better. I am glad to see that through our joint efforts, children are able to live in warm shelters, return to school, use clean water and sanitary toilets, and heal their psychological wounds in a child-friendly environment." Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF China Representative said.

UNICEF is on the ground in the neediest areas to help survivors rebuild their lives and communities. UNICEF has established 40 Child-Friendly Spaces throughout Sichuan to provide long-term psychosocial support to 10,000 children. UNICEF has also provided pre-fabricated classrooms to 5,000 students, as well as teaching, learning, and recreational materials to more than 250,000 students.

UNICEF is working with communities to construct and rehabilitate water supply systems and sanitation facilities in schools and hospitals. UNICEF is also distributing supplies and providing training at township and county-level hospitals to support emergency and routine healthcare for children and women in the earthquake zone.

To date, UNICEF has provided more than 17 million US dollars of assistance. UNICEF is not only working in Sichuan province, but also in difficult-to-reach mountainous areas in Gansu which have received little attention.

Much has been accomplished in the six months since the earthquake struck, but the needs are massive and ongoing. "In the aftermath of this massive disaster, the road to full recovery will be long and difficult. There is still much to be done. We will sustain our support up to 2011 in line with the government's three-year reconstruction plan." Dr. Nwe said.

Millions of dollars are still needed in the reconstruction phase, as UNICEF works in the neediest communities to provide sustainable assistance and build back better in the long-term.

In the months to come, UNICEF will introduce the Child-Friendly School approach to schools in the earthquake zone, emphasizing quality education, child participation, and emergency preparedness. UNICEF will continue to provide psychosocial support through its Child-Friendly Spaces and work to protect children from trafficking and abuse. UNICEF will provide micronutrient supplements and support vaccination campaigns so children in the earthquake zone are healthy. UNICEF will also continue to construct permanent water supply systems, provide sanitary latrines, and raise hygiene awareness.

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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 Revolutionary War. In 1979 UNICEF officially commenced its cooperation with the Government of China to support child health and nutrition, good 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, please contact:
Dale Rutstein, UNICEF China, +8610 65323131 ext. 1301, drutstein@unicef.org

Liu Li, UNICEF China, +8610 65323131 ext. 1303, liliu@unicef.org

 

 
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