World Vision staff on high alert across region, preparing for responseSEATTLE, March 11, 2011
– Asian, North American and South American countries on the Pacific Rim are facing tsunami alerts following a 8.9 magnitude earthquake, reported to have occurred near Japan’s east coast today.
“Our offices in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are on alert and staff in coastal areas have been advised,” said Geoff Shepherd, World Vision’s Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director for the Asia-Pacific region. “We’ve also alerted our Global Rapid Response Team and have put team members on standby for possible deployment to affected areas. This could be a very serious disaster in multiple countries and our staff are prepared to respond.”WORLD VISION:
- World Vision is particularly concerned about those who would be most vulnerable in the island nations facing tsunami warnings.
- World Vision currently has operations in the following countries that may be affected:
- Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Solomon Is., Vanuatu, Mexico, New Zealand, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru
- World Vision also has responded to disasters in American Samoa in recent years.
- World Vision responded in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, as well as earthquakes last year in Haiti and Chile.
- Staff are on standby to respond in Japan and in many of the potentially-affected countries.
- Community development staff in the Philippines are working with local governments to coordinate a possible response in coastal areas.
- World Vision will be able to offer interviews from emergency response and communications staff in Seattle, Japan, the Philippines and possibly Indonesia as connectivity allows.
- The quake, which occurred at 1:46 p.m. local near the east coast of Honshu, Japan
- In Tokyo, reports have already been issued predicting waves as high as 10 meters.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
- Current reports estimate that tsunamis may strike the Philippines by as early as 5 a.m. EST and may strike Indonesia and other South Pacific islands as early as 6 a.m. EST. At this point, authorities have not released an estimate of the potential size of the waves.
- According to communications staff Jay Mijares, based in the Philippines, “In the coastal town of Palanan, where World Vision has an ongoing relief operation, World Vision staff were the first to notify the local government of the impending tsunami. Local government officials have now identified evacuation sites for community members.”
- World Vision staff in the Philippines are monitoring and have pre-positioned supplies prepared for a response if necessary.
- Staff in Papua New Guinea have pre-positioned supplies for 1,000 to 2,000 people. Staff are on alert for a potential response.
- Some media reports indicate that this is the most powerful quake on record in Japan and may be the fifth largest earthquake reported in the world since 1900.
- The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued tsunami warnings for more than 50 locations, some as far away as the western coasts of Chile and Peru.
World Vision's Disaster Response Fund allows the relief group to respond rapidly in situations like this. To donate, visit www.worldvision.org
or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453)