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A record 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck northern Japan early Friday about 80 miles offshore the most populous Japanese island of Honshu, unleashing a deadly tsunami and causing major damage along coastal towns. The death toll continues to rise with reports ranging from 300 to 1,000, with more than 500 people reported missing, and hundreds others injured.
Japanese officials and national assessment teams are gathering more information on the effect of the disaster and the country is prepared to seek overseas assistance.
AmeriCares emergency team has been on full alert mobilizing resources and has dispatched a disaster relief expert to the region to assess medical needs. AmeriCares is prepared to send medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid as necessary.
The earthquake and tsunami struck in tandem causing structural damage to homes, office building, factories, power plants and highways. Nuclear power plants in the region have automatically shut down.
Thousands of residents in a two-mile radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant about 170 miles north of Tokyo have been evacuated as the government declared a state of emergency. So far no radiation leaks have been detected.
This is the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded, and it is the largest in Japan’s recorded history. AmeriCares will coordinate its response with the Japanese government and its centralized disaster management agencies. We are also connecting with local partners to identify available medicines and medical supplies and reaching out to hospitals in the affected regions to gauge immediate needs.
In 1995, AmeriCares responded to the Kobe earthquake in Japan, delivering 400,000 pounds of medicines and medical supplies, while helping locally to supply temporary structures for shelter and mobile care. In a single day, 300,000 were homeless, 15,000 injured and 5,000 lost their lives in a major disaster that affected one of Japan’s leading industrial cities.
For more than 25 years AmeriCares has provided medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural disasters and man-made crises around the world. Wherever people are in desperate need, we are there.