Japan quake and tsunami updates + video

The latest updates on World Vision relief efforts and response following the March 11, 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami.

Two ways to donate to Japan quake and tsunami relief -- Text '4JAPAN' to '20222' to give a $10 donation. Or donate online.


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Update, Monday, 3/21, 1:17 pm PST: The massive humanitarian response involving about 120,000 emergency service personnel continues to assist 367,141 people living in 2,300 evacuation centers.  At least 8,199 people have been confirmed dead with an additional 12,722 people listed as missing. Miyagi Prefecture was the worst hit, with a total death toll of 4,822 people, followed by Iwate with 2,583 confirmed deaths. Attempts to cool the damaged and overheated reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continue.

Update, Saturday, 3/19, 9:38 am PST: From Mitsuko Sobata, Advocacy & Communications Officer, World Vision Japan:

  • 7,348 people have died in total from 12 prefectures
  • 10,947 people are missing in total from 6 prefectures
  • 2,603 people have injured in total from 17 prefectures

*Please continue to pray for those missing and those affected.

Update, Friday, 3/18, 5:14 am PST: World Vision staff unload a truckload of relief supplies in Tome, Japan.

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 10:49 pm PST: World Vision relief distribution begins for thousands in Minami Sanriku (local time in Japan is 2:49 pm, Friday).

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 4:59 pm PST: From World Vision's relief team in Minami Sanriku preparing for tomorrow's distribution: "It's cold and the temperature is about -5 Celsius with the temperature expecting to drop tomorrow." Please pray for relief staff and others helping in Japan right now, and bless those whom will receive distributed items tomorrow.

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 11:48 am PST: From the World Vision Partnership: A team of emergency responders have been mobilized and dispatched from the U.S., Switzerland and the UK, with more on standby, to assist the efforts of World Vision’s Japan-based staff.

World Vision’s Global Pre-positioning Response Network, a logistics system that includes warehouses of relief supplies in Dubai and Frankfurt, is poised and mobilized to ship urgent items to Japan as needed.

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 10:50 am PST: Now in Minami Sanriku, World Vision relief team identifies additional needs: candles, flashlights, small radios, wet tissues, and toilet papers. World Vision to distribute diapers, women's napkins, blankets and water on Friday, local time.

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 8:55 am PST: Two World Vision Vision trucks arrived in Tome, three more coming. Diapers and sanitation items to be distributed to shelters within and outside of the town. From here, teams are taking more supplies to Minami Sanriku, where 9,600 displaced people are in 40 shelters. Over 30 students and teachers from Tome Jr. High volunteering with World Vision teams to help prep items for their neighbors in Minami Sanriku.

Update, Thursday, 3/17, 8:32 am PST: World Vision team distributing water and blankets in Minami Sanriku Friday. Authorities asked us to distribute there since it's truly one of the hardest hit areas.

Update, Wednesday, 3/16, 6:19 pm PST: World Vision relief team just finished loading the first of three trucks with blankets and water. Now beginning the eight hour drive to Tome for distribution to children and families.

Update, Wednesday, 3/16, 2:26 pm PST: Rescue workers are now combing the tsunami-battered region north of Tokyo for survivors and struggling to care for millions of people without power and water in what Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called his country's worst crisis since World War Two.

Update, Wednesday, 3/16, 11:09 am PST: World Vision teams heading up to Tome city later today (PST time *Thursday morning local time) with blankets, water, and other supplies for 6,000 people.

Update, Wednesday, 3/16, 6:11 am PST: Main challenges that face relief staff right now: There have been at least 79 aftershocks and 16 of them have been greater than 6.0 magnitude. These continuing aftershocks and tsunami are hampering the search and rescue efforts. The main highway from Tokyo leading to affected areas is closed, and relief teams travelling must take smaller roads which are also blocked in places with debris.

Update, Tuesday, 3/15, 8:57 pm PST: In Fukushima today, the World Vision assessment team is concerned about the humanitarian needs of displaced families there.

Distribution of water, food and blankets to an initial 6,000 people is planned for Thursday, local time.

Back in Tokyo, from World Vision U.S. staffer in Japan: "Just felt another significant aftershock here in Tokyo. 'Welcome to Japan,' a passerby says to me."

Update, Tuesday, 3/15, 1:38 pm PST: "Yesterday morning, we awoke early after reaching Sendai late the evening before. We started in Sendai city, which looked like it usually does. Then, only 20 minutes away, everything changed. We go to where the tsunami had hit and the difference was so shocking – trees were down, cars were covered in mud and thrown around from where they had originally been. We saw so many that had been washed right into town by the tsunami." -Mitsuko Sobata, World Vision Japan communications and advocacy officer

Update, Tuesday, 3/15, 8:04 am PST: World Vision team today tried to reach Arahama, one of the worst-hit areas (300+ people thought to have died) but the road was completely cut off.

Update, Tuesday, 3/15, 6:33 am, PST: Today, the assessment team will travel to Fukushima, where nuclear contamination has forced the evacuations of tens of thousands of people.  The assessment will inform how best World Vision can respond to the needs there.

“Last night, I visited one of the shelters housing some 340,000 people who have been evacuated around the city,” said Mitsuko Sobata, communications and advocacy officer for World Vision Japan. “Children are sleeping on cardboard with one blanket in freezing weather. It was very difficult for me to see that.  They’re tired and afraid, and the tragedy they’ve endured is overwhelming.”

Update, Monday, 3/14, 9:13 pm PST: Assessment teams in Japan are gathering water, blankets and diapers to serve an initial 6,000 people in the city of Tome, some 190 miles from Sendai for distribution in the coming days.

“This situation is, understandably, very chaotic,” said Kenjiro Ban, World Vision Japan’s manager for humanitarian and emergency affairs. “I’ve served on disaster response programs in Kenya, Sudan, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Haiti and the needs I’m seeing in my own country are as bad as anything I’ve seen globally.”

Update, Monday, 3/14, 3:26 pm PST: New video from Humanitarian and Emergency affairs manager in Japan [see above].

Update, Monday, 3/14, 2:01 pm PST: World Vision staff are getting water, diapers, blankets, and powdered milk for thousands outside of Sendai, focusing specifically on childrens' needs.

Update, Monday, 3/14, 9:54 am PST: At least 340,000 people have evacuated to nearby shelters. The Japanese government has mobilized 100,000 scale teams which are specialized in emergency response from military force (JSDF), police, fire department, Japan Coast Guard for emergency response together with local administrations.

World Vision Japan's assessment team reports from Sendai: “This morning we went the most affected area where it is reported that 200~300 people died by Tsunami. We’ve have been hearing about stories even in Tokyo, however, I’m quite shocked by what we witnessed and now understand the scale of devastation”. The assessment team will also be distributing baby food, wet tissues, and warm jackets for babies under 6 months old.

Update, Sunday, 3/13, 10:33 pm PST: Earlier this evening, another tsunami was reported off the coast of Japan, but it turned out to be a false alarm. "Just a surge," says World Vision staff in Japan.

First relief supplies (baby food, wipes, warm jackets for 0-6 month year olds) will begin being distributed tomorrow.

Update, Sunday, 3/13, 5:18 pm PST: World Vision assessment teams on their way to Sendai from Tokyo report that the regularly four hour drive took twelve hours. Damage to Japan's coastal areas is "beyond imagination," says World Vision's response manager in the tsunami zone.

[VIDEO] World Vision's response manager Kenjiro Ban speaks to CBC News from Sendai, Japan

Update, Sunday, 3/13, 1:02 pm PST: World Vision US. staff have translated recent tweets from @WorldVisionJPN

[3/13, 1:05:36 AM] : All of us at World Vision Japan are encouraged by the support of so many who stand with us, knowing "everyone can do something." Thank you for everyone's messages of support!
[3/13, 1:06:37 AM] : As messages of support flood in, our staff are moved almost to tears. Thank you!

Update, Sunday, 3/13, 10:53 am PST: (From a tweet) Japanese assessment team sleeping in car in Sendai tonight. Will assess needs in the community in the morning.

Update, Sunday, 3/13, 9:03 am PST: World Vision aid workers in Japan, who also served in Haiti this past year, report that roads to Sendai are clear so far but the team is finding petrol hard to come by, many stations are still closed. Since the main highway is closed to traffic, teams have to take smaller roads, adding time to arrival.

Update, Saturday, 3/12, 10:48 pm PST: As World Vision assessment teams deployed from Tokyo today, one concern is how quickly they will be able to access hard-hit areas, given debris and transportation blockages that may hinder efficient travel. Reports vary in their estimations of those dead and missing as a result of the disaster, but many fear the death toll to exceed 1,000. World Vision expects that recovery will take time, and that children's needs in particular will require close attention by aid workers.

Update, Saturday, 3/12, 11:39 am PST: Aid worker from World Vision U.S. (Seattle) departs for #Japan within the hour. More updates to come.

Update, Saturday, 3/12, 9:55 am PST: Authorities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and other nations remain on alert, but have called off evacuations and encouraged communities to return home after initial waves proved less severe than expected. In many of these countries, where the poverty and remoteness of coastal communities makes them especially vulnerable, World Vision had pre-positioned relief supplies and trained staff ready to address immediate needs had a sizable disaster materialized.

“Our prayers are for the survivors as well as everyone impacted by the calamity,” said Kenjiro Ban, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Manager, World Vision Japan.

Update, Saturday, 3/12, 7:07 am, PST: World Vision Japan today is preparing staff members to travel to areas affected by yesterday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Staff will assess the needs in affected areas and prepare supplies and programs to serve those left homeless by the twin disasters. “We are now facing one of the most tragic disaster in our country’s history," said Kenjiro Ban, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Manager, World Vision Japan.

World Vision plans to establish one or more Child-Friendly Spaces--sites for children affected by disasters to resume normal childhood activities and experience structure and security that are often lost following emergency situations.

“Children in Japan are keenly feeling the fear and insecurity that often set in following natural disasters like yesterday’s earthquake and tsunami,” said World Vision relief manager Kenjiro Ban. “We’re planning to see how deep the needs are in the affected areas and begin to bring relief to families. We've seen in Haiti, Chile, and other recent disasters that Child-Friendly Spaces can be a key way to address the unique needs of children who survived but are deeply affected by the experience.”

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

Update, Saturday, 3/12, 4:27 am PST: In Papua New Guinea, World Vision staff reports minor damage in Wewek to local shops. No other reports of damages. "All is quiet and people who had evacuated are gradually returning to their homes. The tsunami warning is still on but the general feeling is that the waves have not been as big as anticipated. World Vision will continue to monitor the situation in other parts of Papua New Guinea as well as in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu."

Update, Friday, 3/11, 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.

Situation facts

  • March 11, 2011 - An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit the northeastern coast of Japan followed by a tsunami affecting other countries as well
  • It was the country's biggest earthquake ever and the seventh largest on record, according to US Geological Survey data
  • Media reports state that over 800 people died, more than 700 missing while 200,000 have evacuated while villages were washed away. Hardest hit are coastal areas of north-eastern part of the country.
  • All major transportation means (e.g. trains and highways) are stopped in major affected cities, people are unable to access any transportation mean to return back home, many are stuck in their offices or at their train stations
  • Electricity is cut off for about 7,000,000 households
  • The affected population faces major difficulty in telecommunication
  • Aftershocks continue

Help now

or text '4JAPAN' to '20222' to give a $10 donation

Read related post: 8.9-magnitude earthquake hits coast of Japan, island nations face tsunami warning


    @Nick Parsons - Thanks for your willingness to help out. I am personally unsure if this particular type of assistance is needed in the initial relief response, but I have passed your comment onto several of our teams here who can provide more direction and will contact you if they believe there is a way your teams can best assist. Thanks, Nick. Stay tuned.
    @Phronsie - In the initial relief response in Japan, items like food and shelter are going to be the most critical. World Vision has pre-positioned supplies to address these types of needs. As well, when World Vision typically accepts donations of this sort (toys, books, etc...) they are from corporate partners who donate large amounts by the pallet. Items like these will also not be accepted by World Vision U.S. unless our office in Japan specifically requests them. This helps to better ensure the items will go to a purposeful use rather than be an extra burden on relief workers in the disaster zone who are focusing on critical needs. Thanks, though, for your willingness. It's a huge blessing to have a support system ready to help in any way they can. Blessings to you.
    @Madelyn- THANK YOU for the info, so glad to hear your friends in Japan are safe.
    @Ruth and Nathan - We are very appreciative for the offer. It is doubtful this type of situation will occur. If it does, it will likely be widespread on the news and we'll update this blog with information. Thank you!

    Like to hear more on what World Vision is doing and seeing to help Japan and those affected. Are you in Japan now, what is being setup? How are you helping? What are the needs?

    @Darlene Mea- Thanks for your willingness to do anything you can to help those affected in Japan. Unfortunately, World Vision does not send volunteers overseas. We depend on disaster and relief development experts in these types of situations that require professional planning and implementation. The best way you can partner with World Vision at the moment is through prayer, or donation, and helping us to spread the word so that others are aware of this disaster. Your willingness to help is greatly appreciated.
    @John Thweatt- World Vision has an entire office in Japan that is deploying teams to affected areas and assessing the needs of both children and families right now. There are possible plans for Child Friendly Spaces to be set up to help children affected deal with the aftermaths of such an event, as well as relief distributions. I will personally continue to update this blog post with any new information that comes in.
    Thank you everyone for your prayers. It is an enormous blessing to have the support of so many as our colleagues in Japan face the most tragic disaster they have ever seen. Please continue to pray as the road to recovery will be a long one.

    Thank You World Vision for practicing God's love in this horrific time for Japan, we rise up in prayer for wisdom
    and may you be allowed the best resources to help those in need! Japan needs Jesus Christ and He will shine brightly for them! May we continue to do all that we can to help!!!

    What a blessing WORLD VISION is in helping the people of the world AND taking the gospel to all the world.

    I was recently in Nicaragua and was so pleased to see lots of WORLD VISION banners in the mountains!

    THANK YOU for all you do!

    Jan Barton &lt;

    A member of the
    Christian Motorcyclists Association

    My heart breaks for all of these people.I pray for the families that lost their loved ones, and the ones that are still missing.
    I pray for All.May God be with them.

    No one has said how it has affected the other islands of Japan including Okinawa. I have friends there and am concerned about them Gintiko Matsuda and wife Sanai and their children and grandchildren. How can I find out about them. Their business is Matsuda Motors a motorcycle shop and motocross team.

    @meri- my best friend lives in Okinawa, her husband is military and they live on the coast, and I've heard from her there was no damage there. They are on alert but no damage was done to that part of the country. Communication is just hard because the systems are jammed of everyone trying to get through. I'm sure your friends are fine, I will pray for them and that you hear from them soon.

    I was wondering, I have a friend whose son mentioned something to her about sending some toys to the kids in Japan who lost theirs. I know that Japan needs more "important" things but would it be possible to get some toys sent? I know the kids and I would be willing to send some if we had somewhere to send them so they'd get there.

    I am the Executive Director of a church planting agency that works in Japan. We have 11 full-time staff on the ground, plus church members that are eager to help. We can do translation or anything else. The churches and individuals in the US that support us have given thousands of dollars to help this situation and we are trying to find partners to work with. Can someone from World Vision contact me, ASAP at 417.825.3353 in the US or Mike Ackerman in Japan at 090.8541.6743 or visit or website to get our email addresses (MSGF.com). We are eager to provide assistance and relief in Jesus' name.

    Being an educator myself, I would like to help an educator from the area of need. If there are any ways to connect online so arrangements can be made I would appreciate the help! Please email me at Dbrierton@comcast.net

    Our hearts are heavy and we wish to help. Besides making a donation, please know, we have a lovely, fully furnished and equipped apartment in the countryside available in PA for any displaced family in need of a stable and supportive home. Contact us if we can help.

    I am a paramedic who lived in Japan for several years and speak the language. I would love to go and help with your relief efforts. Could someone point me in the right direction?
    God Bless

    If there are individuals already in Japan who are ready and able to help, what should they do? I am seeing this question all over the internet.

    I have 10 years experience as an educator of young children and want to DO something to help. Even if it were watching children so that adult guardians could get much needed rest, or helping set up the child-friendly spaces. Any suggestions?

    Continuing to pray for survivors and those who are in the field serving. Praying for wisdom at the Fukushima Daiichi Plants as they decide how best to save the reactors from melting down. Praying for quick, safe relief efforts - for hope, encouragement, and comfort for everyone currently in Japan. So grateful for those who are posting their willingness to help. I'm not able to go, but more than willing to pray and support financially. God Bless World Vision, praying for wisdom, provision, and safety as you move forward. What an amazing opportunity to show Christ's love to a hurting people.

    I can't imagine what those earthquake and tsunami victims have been going through. My heart aches every time I see pictures of the towns destroyed. My eyes start tearing up when I hear the survivers' stories who are still looking for their families. I wish I could do more to help them, but probably the best I can do right now is to make a donation. Please make the best use of donations, and if you have a chance to speak with survivers, please let them know that many people are praying for them.

    hey i wish the best for all these people if i had money then i would donate but i just wish th best for these girls and boys and they shouldnt have to live with this and it is really sad too see these young kids go through this well my words are getting short i hope youll be safe youll are my brothers and sisters in god way

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