BEIJING, 4 August 2014 - UNICEF China expresses its condolences to families who have lost loved ones in the earthquake in Yunnan province on Sunday and are ready to work with the Government of China to provide emergency relief.
According to official sources, so far an estimated 381 people are dead and 1,801 injured, with more than 12,000 houses toppled and 30,000 damaged in the quake zone and 980,000 people affected.
Ludian County, the epicenter of the earthquake, located in the northern mountainous area of Yunnan Province, is one of the nationally designated poverty countries, where many families and their children are vulnerable to natural disasters. One third or 140,000 of the population of 400,000, are estimated to be children. Ludian’s per capita GDP is only one third that of Yunnan province (Yunnan RMB 22,195 per person in 2012).
“We know that after any natural disaster of this magnitude, children make up many of the injured, and are also traumatized from what they have experienced, “said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to China. “Within minutes, their life is turned upside down as they witness deadly destruction and it often takes months or even years for their lives to get back to normal.”
UNICEF China, which has already been working with the local government in the county is now identifying where it can provide humanitarian assistance and also help with the longer term task of re-establishing services for these children. UNICEF is already working with the National Working Committee on Women and Children to provide Child Friendly Spaces in Yunnan Province, where children can come to play, seek counselling and social welfare services. UNICEF will now see how it can provide support to expand these services to reach more of the children affected.
UNICEF is also working with the National Family Planning and Health Commission to support health, sanitation and hygiene and nutrition services for pregnant women and young children. It will continue to see how it can help to make sure there is minimal disruption to these services and to support with longer term recovery efforts.
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.