One month later, a long road to recovery awaits survivors in Japan
April 11, 2011
Hundreds of thousands of Japan's homeless face a long, painful road to recovery, one month after the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake that unleashed a massive tsunami in the northeastern part of the country.
With a confirmed death toll of more than 12,800 and so much uncertainty remaining around the almost 15,000 still missing, the key to long-term recovery for the millions affected by the tsunami is to focus on restoring life to normal, as soon as possible.
'Need of people...is immense'
With staff responding within 48 hours of the disaster on March 11, World Vision has scaled up its response dramatically over the past month, already reaching more than 17,500 people with emergency relief items.
"The need of people in northeastern Japan is immense, and we are committed to help meeting it," said Nobuhiko Katayama, national director of World Vision in Japan.
"Survivors have a long road ahead as they face months in evacuation centers, then the process of rebuilding their lives. World Vision remains committed to supporting them every step of the way."
Initial response plans
We plan to reach at least 30,000 people during the first three months of our two-year response. Currently working in the Miyagi prefecture (Tome city, Minami-Sanriku town and Kesennuma city), World Vision is distributing relief items such as blankets, bottled water, hygiene kits, clothing, and setting up a number of Child-Friendly Spaces to help children recover emotionally.
(Watch a CNN video about World Vision's Child-Friendly Spaces in Japan.)
Over the next few months, we will focus on further distribution of relief and recovery items, continuing to set up protection programs for children and the elderly, while establishing community kitchens in affected areas.
As the Japanese government builds a planned 20,000 temporary shelters in Iwate prefecture and 30,000 in Miyagi prefecture, World Vision will be looking at how best to support families by providing necessary supplies to those shelters.
'We are on the right track'
April is the month of cherry blossoms, spring, and returning to school in Japan, but for children affected by the earthquake and tsunami, this activity has been delayed.
As the government works to get them back to school as soon as possible, World Vision will distribute thousands of back-to-school kits to schools in Minami-Sanriku town and Kesennuma city.
"The road to recovery will be a long and challenging one, but it is not an impossible task if we all work together," said Katayama.
"World Vision believes that with concerted efforts by both the government, which has a good response system in place, and the help of NGOs like ourselves to fill in the gaps, we are on the right track."
Financial accountability for U.S. donations
World Vision U.S. is humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of support from our donors for the people of Japan.
We now expect to have received enough donations to fully fund this intended 24-month response. We are encouraging those who wish to continue to help to donate to World Vision's general Disaster Response Fund.
Given that World Vision responds to some 75 disasters annually, this fund provides resources for us to continue working in other critical emergencies around the world, as well as prepare for the next rapid disaster response.
Similarly, in the event that we are no longer able to continue our response in Japan, we will redirect any remaining donations to other emergency relief projects.
Read more about World Vision's stewardship of donations made for Japan quake relief and other humanitarian aid and development projects around the world.
Visit the World Vision Blog to get the latest stories, news, and information about the situation in Japan.
Please continue to keep in prayer the children, families, and communities left devastated by this earthquake and tsunami.