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UNICEF mobilizing to help children affected by Ya’an earthquake in China

China quake
© UNICEF/China

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 in China:
UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the Civil 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 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

For further information, please contact: Dale Rutstein, UNICEF China, +8610 85312610, or Liu Li, UNICEF China, +8610 85312612,

The community based Child Friendly Space programme was established in the aftermath of the of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake as a means to help children recover from psycho social stress caused by one of China's worst ever natural disasters. Local authorities quickly adopted the Child Friendly Space model as an effective tool to provide urgent community based services for vulnerable children.   





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