ARC Spending $50 Million on Aid for China's Quake Victims

The American Red Cross today said it is supporting the Red Cross Society of China in an "enormous humanitarian relief effort" -- providing $50 million to aid victims of the May 12, 2008, earthquake that killed more than 80,000 people in southeastern China and displaced nearly 15 million residents of Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provinces. Two days ago, ARC also announced the Measles Initiative is helping the Chinese government inoculate 7.3 million children against measles in provinces hit hard by the earthquake.

"The scale of the recovery process is massive. Five million houses need to be rebuilt, and many emotional scars still need to be healed,” David Meltzer, senior vice president for International Services at the American Red Cross, said in the agency's news release. "Recovery will take time, but the American Red Cross is committed to helping affected communities rebuild sustainably."

The Red Cross said it will contribute more than $50 million and will focus on helping to erect earthquake-resistant homes, provide safe drinking water, and prepare communities for future disasters.

Also being distributed are quilts, insulation, and clothing to families living in temporary shelters. "With colder weather approaching, it’s critical that we provide families with the means necessary to survive the winter months," says Alex Mahoney, ARC's manager for disaster programs in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The Red Cross Society of China estimates full recovery will take about three years to complete. Contributions to help in this and other crises are being accepted by the American Red Cross International Response Fund; call 800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish), or mail the donation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013 or your local American Red Cross chapter. Or visit this site to donate securely online.

The Measles Initiative is a partnership that was launched in 2001 with ARC as its leader. The United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization participate; the initiative has supported vaccinations of more than 500 million children in more than 60 countries thus far.

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