In response to the massive earthquake that rocked southwestern China on Monday, May 12, leaving thousands of people dead and untold others injured, Oxfam staff members and partners are now responding with an emergency action plan.
Oxfam has committed $1.55 million to this initial response. It is also preparing for longer-term projects such as helping to rebuild damaged infrastructure.
Oxfam colleagues based in the neighboring province of Yunnan are now traveling to Wenchuan County in Sichuan, the epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude quake, for assessment and coordination of the relief work. The organization is also planning to provide assistance in Gansu Province where it had been working on development projects prior to the disaster.
Based on our communication with local organizations in the affected areas, our initial assessment is that earthquake survivors need clean water, food, medicine, clothing, and blankets. We also anticipate that there will be a huge need for rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance. Damage to infrastructure and other facilities is significant and Oxfam expects it will take months for the region to recover.
"This is the worst earthquake in 30 years, with a huge impact on people's livelihoods," said John Sayer, director general of Oxfam Hong Kong. "With over 20 years of experience working in China on long-term development work and emergency relief, Oxfam Hong Kong 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."