China Earthquake – Minister announces €1 million in Emergency Aid
Mr. Micheál Martin T.D, Minister for Foreign Affairs, today called on the Ambassador of China, H.E. Mr Liu Biwei, at his residence to personally convey his condolences and those of the people of Ireland to those bereaved by the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province. In his conversation with Ambassador Liu, Minister Martin briefed him on Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative and assured him that if required, its facilities can be used to support any international relief effort.
In conveying his condolences, Minister Martin said “I am shocked and saddened by the extent of the destruction caused by this earthquake in Sichuan Province. The most recent information we are receiving in relation to the numbers who have died or been seriously affected indicates a disaster of catastrophic proportions. We can only imagine the utter helplessness of those so suddenly bereaved”.
The Minister told Ambassador Liu that “Irish people feel a profound sympathy for the people of China at this terrible time and would like to offer their support. The Chinese Red Cross have issued an urgent international appeal. On behalf of the Irish people I would like to pledge a grant of €1 million in response to that appeal. I know the Red Cross is on the ground in some of the worst affected areas and I know they will put this money to the best possible use.”
Note for Editors:
The latest available information is that at least 15,000 people have died as a result of the earthquake and a further 25,000 people remain trapped two days after the earthquake struck Sichuan Province. The earthquake which registered 7.9 on the Richter scale caused landslides and razed homes schools and villages. Latest reports indicate that cracks have appeared in a number of dams close to the epicentre of the earthquake which gives rise to concern about further loss of life.
The Irish Aid pledge will be channelled through the International Federation of the Red Cross in Geneva.
Ireland is already a major supporter of the emergency funds of the UN (Central Emergency Response Fund - CERF) and of the Red Cross (Disaster Relief Emergency Fund – DREF).
In addition Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative can provide Emergency Stocks of Relief Goods (non food items such as tents, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans etc) currently being held in the UN Depot in Brindisi, Italy, and in the Curragh Camp here in Ireland, and has a reserve of volunteer experts available in such fields as logistics, telecommunications, and public information. These volunteers stand ready for deployment to help in any sudden on-set emergency of this kind with our partners – the UN World Food Programme (WFP) the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).