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UN humanitarian officials in China reach out to offer help after quake

UN humanitarian officials in China reach out to offer help after quake

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in China is in contact with the country’s authorities to offer UN tools and services to help in the rescue and recovery efforts following Monday’s deadly earthquake.

While the Chinese Government has not yet formally appealed for support, it has said it welcomes in-kind contributions, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is willing to release a grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Ms. Montas added, and both Khalid Malik, the Resident Coordinator – who is based in Beijing – and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – are submitting requests for funds to buy assistance items for victims and to strengthen coordination activities.

UN agencies remain ready to provide ready-to-eat food, shelter materials, health, water and sanitation supplies and other items and OCHA has identified an especially urgent need for tents.

More than 50,000 people may have died as a result of the quake, according to reports in Chinese state media, which measured about 7.9 on the Richter scale when it struck Sichuan province in the southwest of the country on Monday afternoon.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim have both expressed their sorrow and sympathies after learning of the tragedy and pledged the support of the UN.