Oxfam commits $1.6 million to China Earthquake

Emergencies, Media Releases article written on the 14 May 2008

HONG KONG: In response to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked south-western China on Monday afternoon (12 May 2008), Oxfam has allocated HK$12 million (AUD$1.6 million) for emergency relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, and is in contact with local government agencies and community organisations in affected areas to coordinate the emergency response.
Oxfam colleagues based in the neighbouring province of Yunnan are travelling to Wenchuan County in Sichuan, the epicentre of the quake, for assessment and coordination of the relief work.
Oxfam Hong Kong Director General John Sayer said the Sichuan earthquake was the worst in 30 years.
“The death toll is rising,” Mr Sayer said.
“Oxfam is working on immediate emergency action as well as preparing for longer term projects, such as rebuilding damaged infrastructure. We are aware that both urban and rural villages have been seriously hit.
Mr Sayer said many houses of farmers, which were typically made of weak materials, had been destroyed, rendering many families homeless.
“This will have a huge impact on people’s livelihoods,” Mr Sayer said.
“Damage to infrastructure and other facilities is significant and it will take months to recover.
“With over 20 years of experience working in China on long-term development work and emergency relief, Oxfam is determined to help as quickly as possible, to guarantee people’s safety in the short term, and in the end, as a long-term goal, to improve their livelihoods.”
Oxfam operates community development projects in Gansu and are also planning emergency work in this area. Based on our communication with local organisations in affected areas, our initial assessment is that survivors of the earthquake are most in need of clean water, food, medicine, clothing and blankets. We anticipate that there will be huge needs in rehabilitation and reconstruction over a wide area.
People wishing to donate to the relief effort can do so by contacting Oxfam Hong Kong directly via their website www.oxfam.org.hk or by calling +852 3120 5000.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Keith Wong (Hong Kong) +852 9426 2764 or keithw@oxfam.org.hk
Melany Markham (Australia) on +61 407 515 559 or melanym@oxfam.org.au