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The Red Cross is Helping to Build More Than 100,000 Houses One Year After the Sichuan Earthquake
Date:5/11/2009

WASHINGTON, May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake killed more than 69,000 people and destroyed an estimated 5 million houses in southwest China, communities are filled with the signs and sounds of recovery. The focus has shifted from putting up prefabricated, transitional shelters and distributing relief items to constructing more permanent, earthquake-resistant homes and helping people work through their emotional trauma.

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"The pace of recovery is remarkable, with tens of thousands of houses that the Red Cross is supporting under construction or complete," says David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross.

The Chinese government has established an owner-driven housing program that empowers families to rebuild homes that meet their needs. The Red Cross is providing financial assistance to support families in the reconstruction of their homes and that will supplement what the government and other organizations are contributing.

"Making sure that homeowners have information on better earthquake-resistant construction methods is a priority during this recovery phase in order to help avoid such a catastrophe in the future," says Ramsey Rayyis, Senior Field Representative for the American Red Cross in China.

In addition to assistance with housing reconstruction, the Red Cross is also working closely with the government to restore clean water and sanitation systems for some of the affected communities.

Although houses can be rebuilt quickly, helping a child heal emotionally takes more time. The Red Cross is working at the village level using psychosocial tools such as art, role plays, music and storytelling to help teachers and social workers help children in up to 30 schools. The goal of the American Red Cross recovery effort is to help communities build safer houses, provide access to clean water and educate families so they are better prepared for the next disaster.

The American Red Cross has committed $55 million, of which $16.2 million was directed toward relief activities. The remainder ($38.8 million) is committed for recovery and disaster preparedness programs to help families recover and rebuild their homes and communities.

You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243 , Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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