Even without a prior presence in Japan, AmeriCares was on the ground immediately after the disaster, assessing needs, arranging for emergency medical supplies and developing response plans. Working with local NGOs, we established a field office in Sendai to identify survivor needs. We developed high impact programs with our partners that focus on psychosocial support for survivors, filling gaps in health care and innovative projects that reconnect people to communities during the cleanup and rebuilding process.
Snapshot of Japan:
In just three decades after World War II, Japan rose to become a major economic power. Even with the cessation of rapid growth in the 1990s, Japan has remained a leading force in the global economy. In today’s rapidly changing economic landscape , the island nation faces the demographic demands of an aging population (24% over the age of 65, a life expectancy of nearly 84) and continuing urbanization (67% living in urban areas).
The earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 brought unimaginable death and destruction. The severe damage to several nuclear power plants added another horrific dimension to the challenge of disaster response and recovery. As the government struggled to manage the threat from the damage nuclear reactors and mount search and rescue operations, it faced the daunting task of identifying and meeting the critical needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons:
- Access to primary health care and basic services for a predominantly elderly population
- Counseling and trauma support for survivors
- Services for the disabled
The sheer scale of the 2011 disaster exceeded the capacity of any nation, rich or poor, to respond to all the needs of so many survivors in communities that had basically been obliterated. Many thousands of people, whose families had lived and worked in the region for generations saw their history, community, families, livelihoods wiped away in seconds.
Within the first year after the worst natural disaster to ever strike Japan, AmeriCares delivered $3.2 million in emergency aid and grants to help survivors recover and move forward. Partnering with local NGOs, we provided:
- Relief supplies, including medicines, water, and personal care items for survivors
- Counseling support for survivors struggling with trauma and loss
- Construction of dental clinics to replace health services destroyed by disaster
- Services for people with disabilities
Our team has established its base in the disaster zone - one of the few international relief organizations with a recognized and long term presence in Japan. As the country faces a rebuilding process of many years, our daily contact with survivors provides us a keen insight into their needs.
The generous response of our donors and the strength of our partnerships allow us to implement sustainable programs that help survivors reclaim and rebuild their lives.
Recent News from Japan
A survivor of the 2011 Japan Tsunami tells how the hand delivery of a newsletter by an AmeriCares partner in the recovery process saved his life and gave him a cause to promote and celebrate.
As part of its Japan recovery work after the 2011 triple disaster, AmeriCares worked with The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) to supported the rebuilding of a workshop for people with disabilities in Shiroishi.
The AmeriCares gardening project in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture works to improve the psychological and emotional well being of disaster survivors. The program provides the opportunity for participants to plant and garden without the fear of radiation, which is still relatively high throughout the region.
In one targeted recovery program after the 2011 tsunami, The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) and AmeriCares have provided funding for a vital transportation service that takes patients from Yamada to their medical appointments at a hospital in Miyako.
Three years after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and radiation disaster, AmeriCares remains firmly on the ground in Japan– with a clear plan of action to bring health and healing to people still struggling in the aftermath
After the disasters in Japan in 2011, elderly men are learning to care for their homebound family members by attending food preparation and home care sessions conducted by medical and nutrition professionals.
To help earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan gain access to crucial dental services, we have partnered with the Iwate Dental Association to provide mobile dental care to hundreds of elderly and infirm patients.
Baby Smile Ishinomaki provides mental health and child-rearing support services for mothers with young children in Ishinomaki, Japan. AmeriCares Japan has helped the nonprofit evolve into a model organization by providing funding and managerial support.
AmeriCares has expanded its dental program with Iwate Dental Association to include 5 more dentists with the goal of improving access to dental care for tsunami and earthquake survivors in Japan.
By funding both community-directed programs and caregiver training programs in Japan and in the U.S., AmeriCares is providing both immediate and lasting mental health support for disaster survivors.
Portable dental tools funded by AmeriCares enable mobile dental teams to bring care to isolated elderly patients in Miyagi and Iwate, Japan.
More than 100 garden projects are part of the $1.5 million in aid AmeriCares has provided to improve the mental well-being of earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan.
Stamford, Conn. – March 6, 2013 – Japan tsunami survivors separated since the 2011 disaster will be reunited tomorrow with the opening of a new group home built by AmeriCares.
Since the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, AmeriCares has invested nearly $1.3 million to fund dozens of projects that support evacuees and assist people with disabilities.
In the aftermath of epic disaster, AmeriCares continues to expand recovery efforts in the Tohoku region of Japan, with continued focus on behavioral health, resettlement, and reconstruction.