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On Monday, May 12, 2008 a violent earthquake, measuring 8. 0 on the Richter scale, happened in southwestern China's Sichuan Province. Hundreds of aftershocks followed in the area The earthquake destroyed thousands buildings, roads, schools and hospitals, as well as infrastructure like communication networks and electrical towers. Thousands of people died or are missing, and more than 45 million people were affected by the earthquake, which has been the worst natural disaster to hit China for 30 years.
The American Red Cross has contributed $20 million to support the relief and recovery efforts of the Red Cross Society of China. These funds will be used to assist survivors through the purchase and distribution of relief supplies, coordination of logistics and transportation of disaster workers to the hardest hit areas. The American Red Cross has also sent relief experts to the affected area to help monitor and coordinate the response efforts. On June 6, the American Red Cross co-hosted a forum to address the U. S. response and recovery efforts following the earthquake. More than 30 representatives from humanitarian organizations, the business companies and the government participated in the event.
More than 35,000 staff and volunteers with the Red Cross Society of China responded to the disaster by distributing food, water, tents and other essential items. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are providing 100,000 tents to help those in need.
The Red Cross Society of China is a very strong organization with extensive experience responding to disasters. The American Red Cross has long history of working with the Red Cross Society of China, going to back to famines in 1906 and including severe storms earlier this year. There has been a close contact between the Red Cross Society of China and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, arid they have been ready to provide additional support such as disaster workers, relief supplies or financial assistance.
Concerned family and friends in the United States may have difficulty contacting their loved ones because telecommunication has been out of work by this disaster. If they are trying to reach relatives living in China or those who are citizens of China, the American Red Cross suggests them keep calling or try contacting other family members who live nearby.