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BEIJING - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) China Office is closely monitoring the impact on children living in the hardest hit areas after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan province.
"We are very concerned about the physical and emotional condition of children living near the epicenter of the earthquake due to the reports that such a high percentage of buildings have collapsed," said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF China Representative.
"We are standing by, ready to respond in whatever manner necessary," said Mellsop.
UNICEF is in contact with its local partners to assess the effect of the severe tremor on children. In cooperation with China's National Working Committee on Children and Women, UNICEF supports a network of more than 40 "Child Friendly Spaces" in Sichuan. Some of these Child Friendly Spaces are located close to the affected area.
The earthquake hit Lushan County of Ya'an, Sichuan Province, at 8:02 am Saturday. The death toll has so far climbed to 186.