Editor's note: For the most recent updates, see blog post Japan quake and tsunami updates + video
Two ways to donate to Japan quake and tsunami relief -- Text '4JAPAN' to '20222' to give a $10 donation. Or donate online.
Update, 11:27 pm PST: World Vision team departs from Tokyo tomorrow with hopes to do relief distributions and set up Child-Friendly Spaces. Staff will be sent to the affected areas to conduct an assessment of the situation in each area and determine the needs of survivors.
Update, 6:12 pm PST: Official warnings indicate that tsunami waves are not expected to bring heavy damage to Latin American and Caribbean countries, given the loss of energy of the tidal wave as it travels across the Pacific Ocean and the geographic position of the countries in the region in relation to the wave's path. World Vision continues to monitor the situation closely.
Donate to help World Vision reach families devastated by the quake and tsunami.
Update, 3:19 pm PST: From our most recent reports from World Vision staff in affected areas:
- All the major transportation means (e.g. trains and highways) are stopped in major affected cities, people are unable to access any transportation mean to go back home. People are stuck in their offices and at their train stations.
- Electricity is cut off for about 7,000,000 households.
- All affected population facing difficulty in telecommunication. People are unable to contact their families and friends.
- There are still aftershocks.
World Vision staff are working around the clock to get a holistic picture of the damage, and to form an operational response plan.
World Vision is also working closely with authorities in Tokyo, asking what kind of resources we can provide. Read MSNBC article.
Update, 11:42 am PST: World Vision continues to monitor countries across the Asia and Pacific region for tsunami impact. A response in Japan will also be considered once the full picture of damage and immediate needs on the ground are better established. Local media reports more than 300 deaths and many more missing. Regional disaster management staff are on stand-by to support any efforts.
Update, 9:22 am PST: Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs director for World Vision Asia-Pacific reports that all World Vision staff in Japan are safe, initial danger period for Indonesia and Philippines has passed - though they remain on alert. Warnings remain for Papua New Guinea although little damage has been reported. Evacuated people are returning home. World Vision continues to monitor the situation closely.
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit near the northeast coast of Japan today. Pacific Rim countries are bracing for potential tsunamis. World Vision staff members are on high alert, preparing to respond.
Staff on high alert across region, preparing for response
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 is particularly concerned about those who would be most vulnerable in the island nations facing tsunami warnings.
We currently have operations in the following countries that may be affected: Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Mexico, New Zealand, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
World Vision also has responded to disasters in American Samoa in recent years. We 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.
The quake occurred at 1:46 p.m. local time near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. In Tokyo, reports have already been issued predicting waves as high as 10 meters.
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.
"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," says communications staff member Jay Mijares, based in the Philippines. "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.
Papua New Guinea
Staff members 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 Center has issued tsunami warnings for more than 50 locations, some as far away as the western coasts of Chile and Peru.
Please keep in prayer the children, families, and communities left devastated by this earthquake. Pray that the tsunamis would cause minimal damage, and that people would have ample warning to be out of harm's way. Pray that those who are most vulnerable would be protected.
or text '4JAPAN' to '20222' to give a $10 donation