On Monday, May 12, at 2.28 PM, a major earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, jolted southwestern China's Sichuan Province. Several lower-scale earthquakes and aftershocks followed in the same area. The quake destroyed many buildings in the area, as well as infrastructure like communication towers. According to the latest reports, more than 12,000 people have died and many more have been injured or are missing. Many schools were destroyed, including one that had at least 900 students in it.
American Red Cross – Immediately after the quake struck, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) began to mobilize a relief operation for this disaster. The American Red Cross has been in touch with the RCSC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and stands prepared to provide including relief supplies, delegates or financial assistance, as needed.
Unicef – There are an estimated 12 million school age children in Sichuan Province. More than 2 million of them live in the most damaged prefectures, according to UNICEF Communication Officer Dale Rutstein, who asserts that it is “no longer possible to keep track of the number of schools and public buildings that have collapsed, burying many children and adults under rubble.”
Prior to the earthquake, UNICEF China had been implementing its programs extensively throughout Sichuan Province. In the worst affected counties, UNICEF implements early childhood development, HIV/AIDS, child protection and local planning projects.
Funds generated for the response to this disaster will most likely be used for the early relief phase as well as the longer-term recovery and development of quake-affected communities.
Chinese Consulate – Donations are being accepted by the Chinese Consulate in New York which will go towards relief efforts in Sichuan.
For more information on all three of the above disaster relief efforts and how to donate, please visit www.aaari.info/news25.htm. Remember, just by cutting back on one simple evening out on the town in New York City, is enough to help many who now have nothing except for the clothes on their backs.