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UNICEF stands ready to help, if needed, following Qinghai earthquake in China

© AP Images/2010
Firefighters pull a victim out of the debris of a collapsed building following a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck north-western China just before 8 a.m. local time. UNICEF has said it is ready to provide assistance if needed.

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, USA, 14 April 2010 – Following this morning’s deadly earthquake in northwest China’s Qinghai province, UNICEF has extended its deepest sympathies to the Chinese people and stands ready to lend its assistance if requested.

At least 400 people died following the 7.1 magnitude quake centred in Yushu county. Early reports estimate that at least 10,000 people are injured and that the destruction is widespread. The death toll is expected to rise.

The quake occurred just before 8 a.m. local time, when many children were already in school, and some school buildings reportedly have sustained damage.

‘Gravely concerned’

"UNICEF is gravely concerned about the earthquake-affected population in Yushu county, especially by reports of children being killed,” said UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Louis-Georges Arsenault. “Reports have also been coming in of schools collapsing. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

© AP Images/2010
After a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Yushu county, in north-western China’s Qinghai province, rescue workers search for survivors.

The United Nations has also sent its condolences to the people of China.

“The Secretary-General recognizes the efforts being undertaken by the Government of China to assess the situation and to assist those affected by the earthquake,” read an official statement from the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The United Nations has made clear that it is ready to provide assistance, if requested by the Government of China.”

Aftershocks reported

At least 18 aftershocks up to a magnitude of 6.3 have been reported so far. Aftershocks of this size are likely to continue in the coming days.

The quake was felt in neighbouring Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan province, but no casualties have been reported yet in either location. An estimated 87,000 people died in an earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008.



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