On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resultant tsunami in Japan devastated huge tracts of northeastern Honshu, the main island of Japan.
Family Care Foundation’s Project Partner focused its relief operations to help meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of survivors housed in evacuation centers. While many were able to leave the evacuation centers and return to their homes when electricity was restored, most without homes faced uncertainities, not knowing how long they would remain in these public shelters.
Following are news highlights from that time period:
Excerpts from Side By Side International (SBSI) reports:
In Fall 2011, SBSI began opening “Makokoro” (=cordiality in Japanese) community lounges in the "temporary" housing areas established for victims. These lounges allow those without homes a community to gather with others.
On April 1st, two 40ft. and two 20ft. containers full of supplies for Tohoku earthquake victims arrived at the Yokohama port, from CWBA and Wan Hai Co. in Taiwan. SBSI transferred all the contents onto waiting trucks as soon as they landed.
The same night, two delivery teams departed for Motoyoshi Town Gymnasium in Kesennuma city and Bayside Arena in Minami Sanriku-cho in Miyagi. A third group left for Soma city in Fukushima.
Upon arrival at their target destinations the next day, disaster victims, volunteers, city officials and Self Defense Force personnel helped unload these supplies from trucks, and began delivering them directly to disaster victims now living in shelters. Many other recipients we encounter are living in difficult conditions, still without electricity, water and gas.
We acted promptly in providing necessary logistic support to Japan Heart (Medical Assistance Team) and other local NGOs actively assisting the disaster victims. Four medical assistance teams were dispatched to Miyagi Prefecture and other prefectures of Tohoku District with our logistic support.
The second and third wave of need, after rapid response and rescue operations, include providing necessities such as food, blankets and warm clothing to keep the victims warm. CWBA, a partner in Taiwan, provided us with dry food, sanitary goods, blankets, etc. as the first support. Two 40-ft containers and two 20-ft containers are scheduled to arrive at the Port of Yokohama and will thereby be offloaded and transported by 4-ton trucks and trailers to the neediest areas of the northeast.
SBSI is dispatching relief goods to the Tohoku districts, targeting the group of people who were unable to evacuate to the designated facilities due to their age, as well as others who were not able to get to such facilities to obtain necessary goods, including drinking water. The government agencies have been trying their best, however, they are also limited in mobilizing personnel for delivery of relief goods, since most of them were also directly affected by the disaster.
The March 11 disaster is said to be Japan’s worst day since WW2, because the mega-earthquake (magnitude 9.0), mega-tsunami (15 meters high), and nuclear power plant explosions hit at the same time.
Even in Tokyo today, quite removed from the disaster site, aftershocks continue and basic foodstuffs like rice, milk, eggs, vegetables, and meat are difficult to purchase or very expensive. Nor is it easy to find gas for vehicles.
We are used to working in some of the poorest villages of Cambodia, and we also participated in providing assistance after the Kobe earthquake, and find situations in Tohoku even more tragic.