Earthquake in China

CNN is reporting a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Qinghai province of China at 7:49 a.m. local time (7:49 p.m. ET Tuesday), when schools were beginning the day. The death toll has risen to 400 and could rise further.

Children are the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them. UNICEF's disaster relief in the aftermath of the 2008 earthquake reached children in the Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.

We'll share news on the current situation for children as we receive it here on Fieldnotes. In the meantime, if you would like to make a donation to support emergency relief for children caught in disasters around the world, you can do so online here.

Your UNICEF TV guide

Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer for

We are the cable darlings for the next 36 hours, starting Tuesday afternoon, when Malaak Compton-Rock joins Oprah Winfrey to make the case for volunteering as a "touchstone" for life.

Compton-Rock is committed to a life of service--her Angelrock Project educates people interested in charitable work about their local community service options.

Before founding Angelrock, Compton-Rock (who is married to the comedian Chris Rock) dedicated her service to the global community by working here at the U.S. Fund. So while the Oprah segment is featuring Compton-Rock's upcoming book "If it Takes a Village, Build One," expect to hear good things about one of Compton-Rocks favorite organizations--UNICEF.

Tune in to hear more about the big impact even the smallest gestures can have. Compton-Rock says UNICEF greeting cards are one of the best ways to "give back."

Left - Marcus Samuelsson at a recent Tap Project event. Right - Malaak Compton-Rock and Chris Rock
U.S. Fund for UNICEF/2010 and Johnny Nunez/
Left: Marcus Samuelsson at a recent Tap Project event. Right: Malaak Compton-Rock and Chris Rock

UNICEF will also get a broadcast shout out tomorrow night from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson, a UNICEF ambassador, is making his debut on Bravo's Top Chef Masters.

The charity he's playing for? UNICEF's Tap Project of course!

So what have we learned? If it takes a village, build it. If it was created "quickfire" - taste it. And if it's for the good of children everywhere--sign it, send it, read it and win it!

Oh yeah--and watch it!

Malaack Compton-Rock and UNICEF cards on Oprah, Tuesday, 4 PM EST/3 PM CST.

Marcus Samuelsson on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, Wednesday, 10 PM EST/PST.

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Monday photo: the danger for child brides

Jenner Pascua is a production officer for

Last week Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, released a statement about the recent death of a 12-year-old Yemeni girl.

"The death of Elham Mahdi al-Assi from internal bleeding following intercourse, three days after she was married off to a man at least twice her age, is a painful reminder of the risks girls face when they are married too soon."

This heart-breaking news reminded me of a recent photo essay UNICEF released in January. This week's photo shows a young bride from Bangladesh.

UNICEF/NYHQ2009-2317/Md. Ilias Mia
Bangladesh - Thirteen-year-old Tania, who is pregnant, carries a small jar outside her home, in the south-western district of Barguna in Barisal Division. Tania was married at age 10, an arrangement made by her parents when she was just a year old. Despite her pregnancy, she has many household tasks. She advises against marrying at too early an age.

More than just a pretty picture

Each spring for the past 25 years we search for the UNICEF holiday greeting card design to be produced and sold by Pier 1 Import stores nationwide during the holiday season. This year is no different - a huge thank you to the thousands of young artists for sending in their beautiful designs. Even though only one design is finally selected, each and every young artist is a winner for caring about UNICEF's mission .

Thursday video: building back can always be better

Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer of

What a difference a day makes. Let alone five years.

On Tuesday, an earthquake off Indonesia caused tsunamis and emergency alerts. Four days later there is very little to report. Except this--the countries affected by the 2004 calamity have [built back better](

Healthfirst donates over 32K towards Haiti relief

On Wednesday, February 24th, Healthfirst, a not-for-profit company that offers free and low-cost government-sponsored health insurance programs, donated over $32,000 to the US Fund for UNICEF for Haiti earthquake emergency relief. A press conference was held to announce the donation. The funds, donated by Healthfirst employees and other company contributions, were presented to the US Fund's Chief Financial Officer Edward Lloyd by Healthfirst Vice President of External Affairs George Hulse.

Abigail Quesinberry/US Fund for UNICEF
Representatives from Healthfirst including Vice President George Hulse present a check for $32,185 to the US Fund for UNICEF for Haiti relief.

The US Fund's Chief Development Officer Robert Thompson was also on hand and spoke to the natural synergy of the two organizations' missions. Ricoh Dupree of Radio Soleil and Cynthia McCaffrey, Chief Program Officer at the US Fund for UNICEF also spoke and congratulated Healthfirst on their efforts. Edward Lloyd praised Healthfirst for their generosity in support of UNICEF's lifesaving work and for their continued commitment to the children of Haiti.

We are so grateful for the generous support of Healthfirst.

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Monday photo: The legacy of landmines

Yesterday, April 4, was International Mine Awareness Day. Programs and events were held around the world to educate people about the dangerous legacy of landmines, which affect more than 84 countries.

Children at play are particularly vulnerable to mines and cluster munitions since they come in interesting shapes and colors that attract children's curiosity.

This week's Monday photo shows a young survivor from Angola.

Sean Sutton/Mines Advisory Group
"A landmine victim in Angola

This is a serious problem with devastating consequences. Visit to educate yourself and help raise awareness.

If you live near New York City, today you can join U.N. Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy for the opening of an art exhibition to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Monday, April 5 2010, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m; North East Gallery, United Nations Visitors Lobby

This is a free event that's open to the public.

You can also help advance the call to ban cluster munitions. Help support our vision of a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war.

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Jim Grant and the unfinished agenda for children

"The late James P. Grant, a little-known American aid worker who headed UNICEF from 1980 to 1995 and launched the child survival revolution with vaccinations and diarrhea treatments, probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Mao and Stalin combined" -- Nicholas D. Kristof, March 6, 2008

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the passing of James P. Grant, the former Executive Director of UNICEF and global children's champion. As a Congressional aide, I had the opportunity to see Jim Grant in action as he pressed Senators and Representatives to save children's lives and to make children a priority of U.S. foreign policy. I later had the privilege to assist him in his advocacy work when I joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

UNICEF/NYHQ1994-0093/Giacomo Pirozzi
A child at a community center in Cote d'Ivoire, shares a book with UNICEF Executive Director Jim Grant.

The spirit of Jim Grant was very much alive when his friends and former colleagues gathered at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University to hear from distinguished experts at The James P. Grant Lecture: "An Unfinished Agenda for Children."