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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 soc
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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