IFSW has sent the following statement to the China Association of Social Workers:
The community of social workers around the world are thinking of China at this difficult time following the massive earthquake in the Sichuan province.
Even if the full effect of the disaster is yet to be known, we know that so many thousands of people have lost their lives and that nearly one million houses have either been destroyed or heavily damaged. We also know that many children lost their lives and were among the most prominent victims since the earthquake took place during school hours and resulted in the collapse of many school buildings.
We have noted that China is welcoming global assistance. We acknowledge that when disasters like this happens, the world community need to stand together in solidarity with the victims and provide relief both as an emergency and in a longer term perspective.
A long period of reconstruction lies ahead of you, not only in terms of building new houses, schools and other buildings but in terms of assisting communities, families and individuals in coping with this catastrophe.
We are confident that we as social workers will play an important role in the response to the disaster. We can contribute in ensuring social-emotional support, advocacy, and providing planning and capacity building for family and community recovery, reaching out to and assisting those who are vulnerable.
If you find that there is anything we can do from the international social work community, please let us know.
London/ Bern, May 20, 2008
David N Jones
IFSW Secretary General
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)