The United Nations stands ready to provide long-term support to help reconstruct the quake-hit areas, UN Resident Coordinator in China, Khalid Malik, said here on Tuesday.
Malik joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit the town of Yingxiu, the quake epicenter in Sichuan Province, on Saturday. Witnessing the level of destruction and devastation, he said: "It is already clear to us that this tragedy will need attention for many months if not years to come."
Meanwhile, much-needed UN tents, quilts, medical kits and food supplies continued to arrive in the quake-affected areas, according to the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in China.
In addition to the 2,000 tents that have already arrived in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sent 9,000 additional tents that are en route. In all, the UNHCR tents will shelter 55,000 people.
In addition to tents and quilts that arrived last week, more UNICEF supplies on the way include: 100 tons of emergency medical kits and nutritional supplies, portable toilets, children's clothing, school kits and tents especially for schools.
Upon her return from Dujiangyan, Sichuan, Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative and Chairwoman of the UN Disaster Management Team in China, said: "The UN System in China is committed to helping meet the needs of the people who have been so seriously affected in this tragedy. This earthquake has taken a terrible toll, especially on children who were in school at the time, as well as on other vulnerable groups."
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will make refrigerators available to maintain the cold chain supply of essential drugs.
The second UN Development Program (UNDP) consignment of 60,500 quilts arrived in Chengdu on Wednesday afternoon. The first UNDP batch of relief goods, consisting of 358 tents and 1,500 quilts, arrived in Chengdu last Friday and has been distributed to affected areas.
To help address the urgent need to prevent epidemics, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided personal protective equipment for prevention and control of infectious disease including disposable protective clothing, protective goggles and gloves, surgical masks and chemical-proof rubber shoes.
These UN relief efforts are made under an 8 million U.S. dollar relief grant from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to help meet the most urgent humanitarian requirements of the quake victims, a UN official said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2008)