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Fourth Delivery of Humanitarian Aid Scheduled, AmeriCares Flash Grant Program Underway to Aid Japan Recovery

  • April 24, 2011

AmeriCares is readying its fourth delivery of humanitarian aid and launching a flash grant program to help support Japanese NGOs in recovery efforts as relief workers continue to make progress and grapple with many challenges following the March 11 massive earthquake and tsunami.

Nearly 400 aftershocks have shaken the region; more than 14,000 people are confirmed dead with nearly 12,000 still missing, tens of thousands remain homeless, and the official radiation threat at the crippled power plant remains at level 7 — the highest level on an international scale putting it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

From the beginning of the crisis, AmeriCares response team has worked with government authorities, hospitals and local organizations to provide humanitarian aid to survivors by delivering an emergency airlift of medicines and relief convoys of hygiene items for medical teams and evacuation centers in hard-hit areas. 

An additional convoy of hygiene items is ready for distribution in Koriyama City by our in-country partner to evacuees still living at shelters in the impact zone.  This follows the two most recent AmeriCares deliveries, containing more than 750 cases of hygiene items and over 5,000 bottles of water, that were distributed by our partners to shelters in the Fukushima prefecture and to soup kitchens in Ishinomaki in the Miyagi prefecture.

As the early recovery planning takes shape, AmeriCares has also launched its Flash Grants Program to provide Japanese NGOs with financial support for local procurement, logistics, and operations. One of the first grants to be issued will fund Peace Boat, a local NGO, which is organizing over 300 volunteers to undertake intensive and physically demanding “secondary clearing” with the goal of helping evacuees, especially the elderly, resettle in their homes in Ishinomaki. An estimated 30% of civil servants in the hard-hit community perished in the disaster. 

AmeriCares Emergency Response

The AmeriCares team began mobilizing within hours of the first reports of the dual disasters on March 11, dispatching an emergency response manager to Tokyo to direct the efforts of our relief workers in Sendai, the largest city in the impact zone.  Our initial relief convoy of hygiene items and bottled water was distributed with our partner to shelters in the heavily damaged towns of Watari, Yamamoto and Iwanuma in the Miyagi prefecture. 

AmeriCares first air shipment, sent from our warehouse in Connecticut at the invitation of the Japanese government, contained more than $525,000 worth of medical aid and was received by our partner, the Tohoku University Hospital. The airlift included more than 850,000 units of bandages and wound dressings, enough anesthesia to treat 2,000 patients, sutures for 2,500 procedures, plus antibiotics for acute bacterial infections, IV solutions, pain relievers, masks, syringes, gloves and hygiene kits.

A child’s doll left behind in the devastation in Soma. Photo by Christopher Craig

Photo by Chiba Mikio. All Rights Reserved.

A child’s doll left behind in the devastation in Soma.

The AmeriCares delivery helped replenish depleted stocks at hospitals and shelters in four disaster affected municipalities Ishinomaki (Miyagi prefecture), Iwake and Soma (Fukushima prefecture) and Tono (Iwate prefecture).  The allotment for Ishinomaki was received by the Red Cross hospital for use by 60 medical teams caring for patients in shelters and smaller health facilities in 14 areas within the municipality.

As we expand our team in anticipation of a continuing distribution of humanitarian aid and support for recovery efforts in the coming months, we are in direct contact with local officials, evacuation shelters and hospitals treating the injured and caring for evacuees in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate to determine health needs.   

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