Japan earthquake/tsunami appeal update: 04-13-11

News and Press Release
Originally published

Appeal Number: 699-Y

Appeal Goal: $2,827,000

Funds Received or Pledged To Date: $820,924

April 13, 2011

Just over a month to the day when a massive earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Japan, the Japanese government yesterday raised the crisis level at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to that of a "major accident," placing it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

At the beginning of the crisis some survivors noted that relief efforts reported in the media "are not consistently reaching them." Takeshi Kimono, CWS Asia/Pacific's head of emergencies, who is coordinating CWS efforts in Tokyo, now reports that although the country continues to experience large after shocks, "relief efforts have not been hampered and move ahead as planned."

Despite its sound disaster risk reduction and response strategy, even a developed nation like Japan is struggling to deal with the scale of disaster caused by the combination of an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis and continuing aftershocks, accompanied by freezing weather

CWS's response continues to center on emergency relief support to at least 5,000 families living at evacuation sites in the northeastern part of the country.

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Japan, causing widespread and serious damage to infrastructure and to human life. A massive earthquake-triggered tsunami followed, washing away large parts of several coastal cities. The worst affected areas were Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures.

The extent of the damage still is unclear and is further complicated by the ongoing crisis at the nuclear power plant, with yesterday's raising of the severity level for the crisis. This is also very likely to hamper reconstruction efforts.

At this stage it is impossible to know the total economic cost of the disaster. However, the Government of Japan estimates that it could be as much as $295 billion (USD), making it the costliest natural disaster on record. The estimate covers damage to roads, homes, factories and other infrastructure, but is believed to exclude lost economic activity from power outages and costs arising from damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, as well as the impact of movements in the financial markets.

The loss of at least 81,500 jobs in the coastal areas is expected over the next 6 years, although this estimate does not take into account the effects of the earthquake on jobs in the farm and fisheries sectors, which were booming until the disaster destroyed ports and farmland.

As of April 12, a month after the earthquake, 14,529 people are still missing, 13,228 have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured (Source: National Police Agency of Japan).

There are still approximately 151,000 people living in evacuation sites across Japan. That said, there are many unregistered evacuation sites where possibly thousands more are living. In addition, many people go to evacuation sites from their homes due to lack of food, stoves, fuel and other necessary items.

CWS' Komino reports that the health condition of the evacuees is stabilizing but that there remain a "lot of cases of flu and chronic diseases," which CWS partners continue to address by providing access to medicine and health care at mobile and stationary clinics.
RESPONSE: As noted in the March 27 expanded appeal, 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.

This revised appeal updates some activities included in the Church World Service response.

CWS is working with the following partners: Japan Platform, Peace Boat,
Civic Force, Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, OXFAM Japan, National Christian Council in Japan.

Updates to some activities follow this description of the overall planned CWS response.

  1. With JPF (specifically, JPF Partner NICCO) in Miyagi prefecture (Natori City and Iwanuma City) and Iwate Prefecture (Rikuzentakata City).
    Work focuses on stationary clinics and mobile medical services to serve at least 7,500 individuals, with Tohoku International Clinic in Natori City in Miyagi Prefecture serving as the hub for stationary medical services. Mobile medical teams will be sent out to Iwanuma City, as well as Rikuzentakata City, where most of city government functions have been lost due to the tsunami. Also: Distribution of basic hygiene items, temporary toilets and communications services for at least 5,000 individuals in evacuation centers.

  2. With Peace Boat, Civic Force and JLER, in Miyagi prefecture (Ishinomaki and Kesennuma City).
    Work focuses on the distribution of requested relief items from evacuation centers which include food, water, hygiene items, clothing and fuel to at least 10,000 individuals. Based on needs identified by evacuation centers in Ishinomaki (Peace Boat) and Kesennuma Cities of Miyagi Prefecture (Civic Force), partners will arrange 4-10 ton trucks to go from Tokyo to Ishinomaki/Kesennuma City to ensure basic relief items reach these centers, filling some of the humanitarian gaps.

  3. With OXFAM Japan - Iwate Prefecture (Ofunato City, Miyako City and Kamaishi City).
    Work focuses on counseling services for pregnant women and women with young children (1,500 individuals). Working together with Oxfam’s partner, Japan Organization for International Cooperation on Family Services, this response will secure safe and private spaces for these women and children living in crowded evacuation sites.

  4. With NCCJ - Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima Prefectures.
    Work focuses on matching services for housing offers from member churches for 1,000 individuals. Offers of housing are being collected and recorded by NCCJ’s central office in Tokyo and local churches are assisting in matching families who are hoping to share rooms in houses offered. NCCJ is assisting these families with transportation and utility expenses.

Following is an update on activities conducted with JPF Partner NICCO in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, between March 28 and April 8, 2011:

Miyagi Prefecture- Natori City and Iwanuma City

● More than 289 patients were treated by NICCO medical teams at Tohoku International Clinic. In addition to the prescription of general medicines, it was mainly cases of influenza and upper respiratory infections that were treated.

● More than 94 people were treated by mobile medical services at two evacuation sites in elementary schools.

● Hygienists are providing care 24/7 at evacuations sites.

● Cars necessary to transfer patients also have been equipped to ensure safe transfer and this service is now being provided on a daily basis.

● The health conditions of evacuees are stabilizing but there are still a lot of cases of flu and chronic diseases.

● It is planned that the mobile medical services in these areas will end after this week and local doctors will take over the task of treating patients. The medical teams will then be moved to Rikuzentakata City where the needs still remain very high.

Iwate Prefecture- Rikuzentakata City

● Teams comprising doctors, nurses and pharmacists were dispatched to the area.

● Assistance was given by NICCO medical teams at Toba Clinic in Otomo area of the city for OPD services. Demands for medicines for chronic illnesses have been reduced since this clinic was reopened.

● Mobile medical assistance was provided to at least 90 people at evacuation sites in 10 locations in the Otomo area.

● Psychosocial recovery issues are still high on the agenda and NICCO has begun coordinating with other medical teams from Iwate, Tokyo,
Kanagawa and Chiba Prefectures to ensure an appropriate act ion plan is executed using mobile medical services.

● Based on needs assessments done in Otomo and Hirota towns, high pressure cleaners and washing machines were purchased and provided to evacuees.

● 64 generators have been provided to evacuation centers.

● 14 temporary toilets have been provided in Hirota town.

On April 18, CWS partner Peace Boat will begin relief assistance, to Ishinomaki City of Miyagi Prefecture to provide 2,000 hot meals per day, catering to the needs of evacuees in the area, and cleaning debris from evacuation sites and surrounding areas (houses and roads) with over 140 volunteers managed by Peace Boat staff.

BUDGET: Total is $2,827,000. This includes $375,000 for medical services; $1,950,000 for relief items and distribution; $150,000 for counseling services; $200,000 for matching housing services; $152,000 for CWS and partner operation 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.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit www.churchworldservice.org or call the CWS hotline, (800) 297-1516

CWS Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program/CWS New York office (212) 870-3151

Program Director: dderr@churchworldservice.org

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net