Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: CWS Emergency Appeal
As the need for immediate relief supplies increases following the recent disaster in Japan, CWS's response centers on emergency relief support to at least 5,000 families, about 25,000 individuals, now living at 100 evacuation sites in the northeastern area of the country.
A family walks past rubble after the earthquake and tsunami in Minamisanriku City. Photo: REUTERS, courtesy www.alertnet.org.
Summary of events
On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Japan causing widespread damage to infrastructure and human life. A massive earthquake-triggered tsunami washed away several coastal cities. The Japanese government has described the destruction and crisis as the "worst since World War II."
The reported death toll and missing combined as of March 16 stands at 11,521 people with fear of thousands more unaccounted for. More than 460,000 people are now staying in evacuation sites, where the number of people arriving exceeds the capacity of space, food, water and toilets.
Explosions continue at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A 20 kilometer radius is now considered as a "need to evacuate" zone.
The two most immediate needs for affected families include rescue for those who are trapped and the mobilization of relief goods to evacuation sites. Rescue interventions are primarily being carried out by the Self-Defense Force of Japan and other specialized agencies, including the Japan Rescue Association. The Japanese government has requested international assistance in response to this massive disaster.
The need for relief supplies is increasing, particularly in areas where the 460,000 displaced people are now living. These sites are reporting a lack of food, water and electricity, as well as blankets and stoves, which are critical given the current cold and freezing temperatures in the affected regions.
CWS's response centers on emergency relief support to at least 5,000 families, about 25,000 individuals, now living at 100 evacuation sites in the northeastern area of Japan – the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Ibaragi and Tochigi. Assistance will include immediately required food items and non-food items through a partnership with the Japan Platform, known by the acronym JPF. CWS will focus on evacuation sites where basic needs of food, water, sanitation, electricity and fuel are not being met. These sites are presently being prioritized and identified by JPF.
The CWS response will include ready-to-eat food to meet calorie requirements of those living in evacuation sites. In addition, the response team will distribute sanitation kits, including napkins and soap to fill significant sanitation and hygiene gaps. Water consumption requirements at evacuation sites will be addressed, and one potential substitute for water could include prepared green tea. Blankets, accessed from sources from within the region, are being prioritized to help protect people from the cold, which is becoming an increasingly dire problem as fuel and gas supplies are running out. In order to maintain radio contact at evacuation sites, batteries will be supplied to support victims receiving vital news on nuclear and radiation related developments, information collection and communications. Gas and fuel supplies will also be provided to evacuation sites.
Relief efforts will be carried out by member non-governmental organizations of the JPF and will be coordinated with other humanitarian agencies as well as local authorities. Assistance will be delivered based upon Sphere minimum standards in terms of calorie consumption requirements, water consumption requirements and appropriate sanitation measures. The CWS Asia/Pacific head of emergencies will be stationed in Tokyo this week to coordinate the response along with CWS team on the ground. Relief items will be accessed within the Asia/Pacific region.
Additional updates will be sent out from the field in coming days/weeks.
CWS is also coordinating with Japanese organizations that have been involved in previous international ACT Alliance disaster responses, including the National Council of Churches in Japan, the United Church of Christ in Japan and Asia Volunteer Center.
BUDGET: Total: $2,590,450. This includes $900,000 for food; $50,000 for sanitation kits; $675,000 for water/green tea; $375,000 for blankets; $80,000 for logistics; $20,000 for batteries; $400,000 for gas/fuel supplies; and $90,450, for CWS and partner operational costs.
HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (Appeal #699-Y)
Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.