China earthquake: Plan International assisting response in quake-hit areas

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Sven Coppens, Plan’s Country Director in China, is available for interviews from Beijing

4 August 2014: Beijing, China – Plan International is deploying a rapid assessment team to assist the government response to the 3 August earthquake in Yunnan Province. The 6.5 magnitude earthquake has resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, with substantial damage in Ludian County, according to Plan staff and government sources.

The China Seismic Information Centre has updated the earthquake response level to Level One, the highest priority national response grading.

Emergency response

“The full extent of the damage, casualties, and scale of the emergency are still being assessed. Plan immediately deployed a team to the affected areas and will be making a rapid assessment of humanitarian needs and emergency response,” said Sven Coppens, Plan’s Country Director in China.

The response is complicated by severe damage to roads and infrastructure, landslides and flooding. Heavy rainfall is also forecast in the coming days, and could further complicate the response.

“Plan is preparing to aid affected communities in providing emergency care for children and families affected by the earthquake. We are also on standby to provide psychological counselling and social support to children,” added Coppens.

Government authorities are leading the overall response, and Plan is also prepared to assist with any additional humanitarian or development needs as they arise, Coppens noted.

Plan International, the humanitarian and child rights and development organisation, works in several communities throughout Yunnan Province. Provincial authorities have facilitated Plan’s involvement in the rapid assessment operation. The communities that Plan works in are not in the areas affected by the earthquake and no Plan-sponsored children are reported to have been injured.

With a population of 480,000, Ludian county is a primarily agricultural area. Zhaotong City, the main urban centre in the county, is about 300 kilometres from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, where Plan International has an office.

Aftershocks and landslides

Aftershocks and landslides are continuing to cause damage in the area and limit rescue workers’ access. In many areas, rescue workers and emergency responders have been forced to access quake-hit areas on foot.

Plan’s rapid assessment team is expected to reach Ludian County by the evening of 4 August, subject to accessibility and damage to infrastructure. The rapid assessment will begin immediately and be coordinated with the government and other NGOs participating in the response.

Plan International will continue to provide media updates and on Twitter @PlanAsia (twitter.com/PlanAsia). Updates in Mandarin will be posted on Weibo (Weibo.com/planinternational), and in English at plan-international.org.

Media contacts

Plan’s Country Director in China, Sven Coppens, is available for interviews
Further details please contact:

China (Plan China Country office):  Sven Coppens, Plan China Country Director
Mobile: +86 18502986180 Email: Sven.Coppens@plan-international.org

Bangkok (Asia Regional Media): Mike Bruce Regional Media & Advocacy Specialist, Plan Asia
Mobile: +66 (0)81 821 9770 | Mike.Bruce@plan-international.org

About Plan International:
Founded over 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world.  We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

About Plan China:
Plan has been working in China since 1995 helping children to access their rights to health, education, livelihoods and protection. Plan China strives to work with children, especially the most marginalised children, their families and their communities, to improve living standards and promote children’s development.

Plan’s major programme areas are located in Shaanxi Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, where 168,000 children have directly benefited from our programmes, with invested RMB 542 million in China until June 2013.

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