Letter of condolences to the quake victims and their families

Posted on 20 May 2008

We are deeply saddened by the news that an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province at 14:28 on May 12, 2008 with devastating impacts that caused tragic loss of human lives and damages in cities and villages across the affected areas. As an international conservation organization working in China for nearly 30 years, WWF would like to express our sincere condolence to the victims and their families, with deep respect to the rescuers who have spared no effort to save people. We would also like to express our support to local partners in the affected areas.

It has confirmed that no WWF staff, their families and our volunteers was injured in the quake-ridden areas, where our projects to protect the panda habitat were affected. WWF was in contact with local partners and has been trying to provide any relief help we can offer. Further assessment of the quake impacts upon the wild pandas, their habitats and the eco-system will be carried out shortly through cooperation with forestry authorities and nature reserves.

WWF's response to this disaster was immediate, working in affected areas to help restore communication and provide emergency support. For example, WWF provided 11 satellite phones to local partners to help with coordination efforts in devastated areas. The WWF Network emergency response has provided support to our programme offices in Chengdu and Xi'an, who are working with other NGOs and partners to send tents, food to the affected nature reserves and the communities. Meanwhile, we are striving actively for raising more international support that can be provided into the disaster-ridden areas as soon as possible.

We believe, joining hands together, we can overcome the tremendous hardships and rebuild a living home for all.

Dermot O'Gorman
Country Representative