On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the northeastern coast of Japan
, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and taking more than 10,000 lives, with more than 17,000 people still unaccounted for. The United Nations' OCHA
(Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) estimates that 244,000 people remain in emergency shelters with little fuel and temperatures dropping below freezing. Some evacuation centers still have a huge need for relief items, while in other areas people have returned to their homes because they have had electricity and water supplies reconnected. However, there will be ongoing needs in communities where people have returned home. The disaster is complicated by ongoing radiation leakage from nuclear reactors at Fukushima that were damaged by the tsunami.World Vision
has had a support office in Japan since 1987 and immediately began planning an emergency response. World Vision also responded to the massive 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan.
To date, World Vision has provided for more than 10,000 people in Miyagi Prefecture with baby diapers, blankets, bottled water, socks, warm clothing (long-sleeve turtlenecks, fleeces), and more. World Vision is particularly targeting Tome and Minami-Sanriku localities and will also seek to operate in Iwate, Yamagata and other prefectures. The organization is providing emergency relief items to local authorities who carry-out the distribution in evacuation centers.
World Vision anticipates an initial 90-day response of approximately US$10 million, with an additional US$15 million dollars or more to be used over the next two years. In the remote case where donations exceed what is needed, World Vision will use the funds to help children in similar circumstances around the world.
World Vision estimates that in the first 90 days it will reach approximately 30,000 people with:
1. Immediate relief items to be given to the Miyagi Prefecture for distribution to evacuees, including: mattresses, diapers (adult and children), winter clothing, hygiene kits, batteries and blankets.
2. Purchase of relief items for other prefectures based on need.
3. Child-Friendly Spaces to be set up in the coming weeks at evacuation centers.
4. Precooked meals—World Vision has previous experience providing hot food after earthquakes and may begin to do this in areas around the evacuation centers.
Guidelines and safety procedures have been drawn up to help World Vision respond to the ongoing radiological threat emanating from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. The guidelines include advice for staff in Tokyo and those deployed to field operations in tsunami-affected areas.
A dedicated safety officer and crisis management team are monitoring the information on the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Information and updates are shared regularly with staff in order to mitigate risks. World Vision will not allow any staff to work in an area or region of radiological contamination where safety cannot be reasonably assured and will only begin implementing programs or enter an exclusion area when it has been declared safe by government authorities.About World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews