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.
- 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
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