World Vision International

World Vision Continues to Deliver Emergency Supplies as
Aftershocks Continue in Japan

Japan Blog – Chris Webster – March 28, 2011 – It’s just gone 7:00 am and an aftershock shakes the building awake. This one is big and lasts for maybe 30 seconds.

It’s more than two weeks since the massive earthquake and tsunami tore through Japan’s northeast coastline, yet tremors and ripples continue to wreak havoc and remind hundreds of thousands of survivors of their fears and losses.

I’m in Miyagi, one of the hardest-hit areas, with World Vision’s emergency response team. We’re helping distribute thousands of blankets, clothes and other essential items as temperatures reach freezing point across this part of Japan.

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In the coming days we are establishing a programme of children’s activities to provide safe places for children to play while their families try to adjust to the violent changes in their plans and fortunes.

More than 10,000 people are reported to have been killed in this crisis; 17,000 are reported missing and unaccounted for.

Survivors now live in makeshift camps in public buildings, sports centres and schools. The pounding tsunami turned their towns into a soup of twisted steel, wood, mud, concrete and chaos – cars perch on top of buildings 50 feet high.

The Japanese government has found refuge for around 250,000 people in 1,800 centres across the coastline. Many are raised up on hills, offering views of their destroyed towns below. Residents also must deal with the ongoing uncertainty of radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear reactor.

The resiliency of survivors is incredible. In the evacuation centres I visited today, people have divided duties amongst residents. A group of women thrown together by disaster took control of the cooking duties from the officials assigned with the task. They chopped vegetables with great energy and boiled huge pans of Miso soup over a log fire, serving much-needed hot food for the 150 people staying there.

Another group of residents worked with World Vision and centre staff to agree a plan for the most equitable distribution of clothing. Fairness and equality are extremely important here. These values protect and build on what is a tangible sense of solidarity – “we have suffered together and will rebuild together” is a common refrain.

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Well-run drills and ‘worst-case scenario’ procedures are being played out for real as national army troops bolster the humanitarian effort. It was reported today that forces have delivered nearly 10 million meals to those taking refuge.

I’ve worked in many disasters before but I’ve never seen anything quite on the scale of Japan’s emergency response. There are medical teams on site at the centres, aisles of boxes for different types of aid and even cell phone charging units to ensure people can stay connected.

The access to cell phones may well have saved thousands more lives. Moments after this morning’s aftershock I received an alert on my cell phone warning me of a possible tsunami. The television and radios carry the same message. It did not materialise this time.

There is certainly no quick-fix for long-term reconstruction in Japan. And there is a complicated humanitarian and development road ahead as rebuilding plans start to be drawn up. It’s good to be here to support the drive, care and commitment of the Japanese people, which will no doubt ensure that lives, livelihoods and communities are rebuilt in time.

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Distributing essential supplies

March 21, 2011 In the last couple of days, World Vision has delivered blankets, bottled water, and sanitary and hygiene supplies for more than 6,000 people in urgent need in Minami Sanriku and Tome, two devastated towns where thousands were evacuated to shelters.

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World Vision will continue responding to needs in a long-term response over the coming weeks and months. In the event that donations raised by World Vision national entities exceed what is needed for relief activities in Japan, World Vision will redirect funds to similar activities to help children and families in need around the world.

March 17, 2011

Japan: World Vision Distributing Supplies

As a child-focused organization, World Vision will focus efforts on responding to the emotional needs of children.

World Vision is initially distributing water, blankets and sanitary supplies intended for 6,000 people.

Major humanitarian needs

A World Vision assessment team reached Sendai, Japan, within 48 hours of the tragedy and began exploring how the organization’s relief expertise can support the government-led response.

Many evacuation sites do not have enough food for the populations using them, and there are not enough blankets to cope with the cold winter season.

Priority needs also include non-food relief items, supplies for babies and small children, support for women, and interventions for children who are separated from their parents, including safe locations they can use, known as Child-Friendly Spaces.

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Relief supplies headed for distribution

Truckloads of World Vision relief items that arrived Thursday are en route and will be distributed Friday in Minami Sanriku, a devastated town where 9,600 people have been displaced into 40 shelters. Japanese authorities organised the distribution.

Local volunteers who are students and teachers from a junior high school in nearby Tome city helped with loading and unloading the items for distribution.

The supplies are enough to reach 6,000 people. Items to be distributed include:

4,800 bottles of water
4,500 blankets
130,000 wet wipes for children

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World Vision’s global pre-positioning response network, a logistics system that includes warehouses of relief supplies in Dubai and Frankfurt, is poised to ship urgent items to Japan as needed.

March 12, 2011

World Vision Responds to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

As the impact of the most powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami begins to be understood, World Vision is responding.

“We are now facing the most tragic disaster in our country’s history. We will have so many challenges as we plan to conduct a relief operation to help respond to the needs of the affected children who are most vulnerable during this time,” said Kenjiro Ban, World Vision’s humanitarian and emergency affairs manager in Japan.

Death tolls and the numbers of those missing continue to climb. Entire villages were washed away. Hundreds of thousands are displaced. Hardest hit are coastal areas of north-eastern part of the country.

Ban said, “World Vision will be deploying three staff to the quake zone to assess the impact and identify immediate needs of the survivors. We are responding with an initial budget of US$400,000 for an initial one month period and appreciate the assistance from the partnership to mount our operation.”

World Vision plans to distribute daily necessities after the assessment has been done. Child Friendly Spaces will also be considered as a psycho-social response to the children who faced such a traumatic situation.

Meanwhile, all World Vision staff are accounted for and the World Vision building was not affected.

“Our prayers and that of the partnership are for the survivors as well as everyone impacted by the calamity,” said Ban.

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World Vision responded to the massive Kobe earthquake in 1995 that claimed 5,500 lives.

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