Earthquake in China: Urgent relief required for children

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Plan International is appealing for support for emergency relief in affected areas

7 August 2014: The core needs of children are not being met following the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in China’s Yunnan Province on 3 August, including concerns around safety issues, delivery of relief kits, and mitigating the damage to schools, according to Plan International, the humanitarian and child rights and development organisation. Plan is implementing a detailed response to address these needs in Yunnan.

The death toll from the earthquake has risen to 589 people, with a further 2,401 injured. 229,700 people have been displaced and over 676,000 houses damaged. In addition, almost 100 schools have been damaged with approximately 50,000 affected in Ludian County, where the damage has been most severe.

Emergency appeal

Plan International is issuing an emergency appeal for US $260,000 to fund relief kits for children and their families, establish “child friendly spaces”, which provide for a secure, safe, and healthy spaces where children can continue to learn in a safe place.

“School is supposed to start on 1 September, and we need to provide spaces where children can be safe, secure, and continue to play and learn, and where their parents can be confident that their children are being looked after as communities struggle to recover from this tragedy,” said Sven Coppens, Plan’s country director in China.

Coppens noted that when a disaster like this happens, it is children who are the most vulnerable. Not only are their schools often damaged or unsafe, but with the loss of a school facility, there often is nowhere else secure for them to go; at the same time, health, hygiene, food and clean water become much more scarce, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes.

Relief kits

“Plan aims to fill that gap by distributing relief kits, providing safe spaces for children, and leading a range of safe school activities in the region,” said Coppens. “Children often get forgotten in the rush that follows a natural disaster, and Plan is there to help children and their families and ensure that kids are safe and can continue to play and learn.”

Following the earthquake, Plan International immediately deployed a rapid response team the areas impacted by the earthquake. The response is being coordinated by the government of the People’s Republic of China, with international and local NGOs and relief agencies supporting these efforts.

Plan International works in several communities throughout Yunnan Province. 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.

Donors can support Plan International’s work by making a donation online

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

Plan’s country director in China, Sven Coppens, is available for interviews by phone or by Skype at the contact information below.

Media contacts:
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 Email : 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.

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