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A powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday (March 11) at 1446 local time (0546 GMT), unleashing massive tsunami waves that crashed into Japan’s northeastern coast of Honshu, the largest and main island of Japan, resulting in widespread damage and destruction. According to the Government of Japan (GoJ) as of Saturday (March 19), at least 7,197 people are confirmed dead, 2,611 injured and over 10,905 people are reported to be missing, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. Casualty numbers are likely to increase as emergency teams continue to reach and assess affected areas. The earthquake sparked widespread tsunami warnings across the Pacific. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the shallow quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 km) (20 km deep according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency), around 80 miles (125 km) off the eastern coast of Japan, and 240 miles (380 km) northeast of Tokyo. There have been more than 290 aftershocks recorded since Friday (March 11).
The UN reports most people who were stranded have been rescued and moved to evacuation shelters. UN says that with almost all people in affected areas now accessible, the focus is shifting from SAR to recovery and caring for evacuees.
- Shortages of fuel and transport vehicles as well as damaged infrastructure are continuing to hamper relief operations. SAR teams focusing on recovery.
- The number of people in evacuation centers has decreased to around 376,907. Delivery of relief goods to the centers still hampered by shortages of fuel and lack of transport. Health concerns at the centers include prevention of infectious diseases, hypothermia, respiratory diseases and care of the elderly.
- Supply of electricity and gas slightly improving but some 2.3 million remain without water in 12 prefectures
- GoJ raised nuclear alert level to 5 on the 7-Level scale of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Request for international assistance
Japan has asked for international help to deal with the disaster and has so far received offers of assistance from 128 countries and 33 international organizations. The GoJ has accepted assistance from 14 countries on assessed needs, mostly in specialized Urban Search and Rescue teams and medical teams.
Search and rescue (SAR) teams are continuing their activities in cooperation with their Japanese counterparts with the focus now on recovery. There are now some 333 international SAR specialists working with their Japanese counterparts on the recovery of bodies. A 47-member South African SAR team and a 33-member team from Turkey have deployed to assist, while another six teams have completed their missions and are heading home. (OCHA, March 19).
The GoJ has so far not requested much support from UN agencies, however, a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team is supporting the GoJ with information management, the deployment of USAR team and international offers of assistance.
International NGOs are being urged to wait until SAR operations are finished before starting activities. The GoJ says that NGOs are urged to wait until the situation improves so that they are able to conduct their activities in a self-sustainable way.
The GoJ recommends not to send any relief goods without coordination with the GoJ. (OCHA, March 18) The GoJ welcomes financial donations and asks Member States to donate through the Japanese Red Cross (JRC). Japan’s overseas missions will also accept relief funds and channel them to the JRC.
The March 11 quake was the largest recorded quake in Japan’s history and the fourth largest in the world since 1900. Japan’s worst previous quake was an 8.3 magnitude quake in 1923 (Great Kanto Earthquake) that left some 143,000 dead. A 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Kobe in 1995 (Great Hanshin Earthquake) left some 6,400 dead. The Japanese Meteorological Agency is referring to the March 11 quake as “The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake.”
Worst-affected areas are the prefectures (states) of Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Chiba, Akita and Aomori in Japan’s northeast. The tsunami caused severe damage along some 600 km of coastal region and went in as far as 7 km inland. along Japan’s northeastern coast. The population in these areas before the disaster was estimated at over 14.8 million people, of which 1.6 million lived within 5 kilometers of the coast. Particularly hit hard are areas near the coastal city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture, with a population of some 1 million people.
The initial tsunami that swept over Japan’s northeastern coast was reportedly as high as 33 feet at the port of Sendai. The prefecture capital is located some 180 miles (300 km) from Tokyo and 128 km from the epicenter. Japan’s Meteorological Agency reported that the highest tsunami wave on the day of the quake was 15 meters high in Mekawa, Miyagi (UNOCHA, Mar-17).
In East Matsushima, officials estimate thousands to be dead or missing. Approximately half the town was inundated by the tsunami, as the town of 43,000 is in a low lying area. There is no water supply in the area, most areas are without electricity and there is no cell phone coverage. Approximately 14,000 people have been evacuated to 80 evacuation sites in the city. There are a number of shortages reported at the centers. According to the UN, there is a need for psychosocial care. (OCHA, March 19)
The supply of electricity and gas is improving. Some 289,000 households (713,000 people) are without electricity versus 452,000 households two days ago. (OCHA, March 19)
The National Police Agency reported Saturday that 117,570 buildings have been damaged, with 14,606 completely destroyed. (Reuters, March 19)
The GoJ has announced temporary power cuts across the nation, following the reduction in output or the closure of 11 of 50 nuclear generators located in affected areas. The government warned that rolling blackouts would begin March 14 and are expected to last until at least the end of April.
The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning that freezing temperatures will return to the Tohoku region on Sunday (March 20) followed by heavy rains on Monday (March 21). Unseasonably cold weather expected beyond Tuesday (March 22). The JMA has also issued a flood alert for affected coastal regions during the spring tides from March 18-26, in particular for Minami-Sanrikucho in Miyagi prefecture. As many areas have reportedly sunk due to the quake, affected coastal regions are more susceptible to flooding from the high tides. (OCHA, NHK, March-19)
GoJ’s Emergency Management Agencies lead the response through the Emergency Response Team, headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating all offers of assistance.
The GoJ has created a task force for livelihood support which will coordinate ministries, municipalities, private sector and other organizations. Its responsibilities include ensuring aid reaches evacuation centers, transport of relief items, construction of emergency shelters, waste disposal and the recovery of bodies and burial. (OCHA, Mar-18)
The GoJ announced the establishment of a Volunteers Coordination Unit under the Chief Cabinet Secretary’s Office which will coordinate activities of volunteer groups and non-profit organizations. (OCHA, March 17)
The UNDAC team is supporting the GoJ with information management and supporting the international USAR teams. MapAction is supporting the UNDAC team with mapping. The team is based at JICA Tokyo International Center. UNDAC can be contacted at: [email protected]
UN says logistics remains the biggest challenge at this stage. Delivery of aid remains difficult due to shortages of fuel and transport vehicles. However international organizations say most basics being provided in affected areas although there are some pockets not receiving aid. Officials have mobilized a large amount of aid from around the country but have been unable to get the aid to the affected quickly. Fuel in short supply as six out of nine oil factories in Kanto and Tohoku areas have broken down. In the three worst-affected prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, only 4.7 percent of petrol station supplies are for non-emergency vehicles. Some 700 additional tankers are being mobilized to deliver fuel to petrol stations in affected areas. (OCHA, Mar-18)
WFP will deploy a logistics expert to participate in the GoJ’s central response unit and will also establish a logistics coordination cell at the Narita airport. WFP will also provide storage facilities. (OCHA, March 19)
According to OCHA, the GoJ says the fuel situation is likely to improve by the beginning of next week. The GoJ has also disbursed US$66 million (5.4 billion yen) from its reserve fund to cover fuel costs for the deployment of SDF personnel which has been working to transfer relief items and fuel.
Japan’s Federation of Economic Organizations is organizing a relief items transportation hotline to support Aomori, Iwate, Miygagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki. The Federation has appealed to private sector and charity organizations to send specified items such as rice, instant food, etc. to designated locations before March 23. (OCHA, March 19)
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLITT) announced that 94% of the main roads reaching to the affected coastal areas have been repaired. Two main highways are still reserved for emergency vehicles only. The UN says that roads, airports and ports are being gradually repaired and the Tohoku Expressway and Sendai airport, which was submerged, are open to emergency vehicles and planes and helicopters for humanitarian flights. Six sea ports which were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami have resumed their operations. 13 airports in the affected areas are open for scheduled and chartered flights. (OCHA, March 18)
The GoJ on March 16 announced a plan for managing and delivering relief items: Evacuation centers will send requests to municipalities, and the prefecture will consolidate these requests and liaise with the national government. Then, the national government will request relief items and food from the private sector and other municipalities, which will be consolidated at SDF sites and transported by the SDF to affected areas. (OCHA, Mar 17)
Requested by the GoJ, All Nippon Airways (ANA) Group agreed for a month to provide support in transporting humanitarian personnel and relief items free of charge. (OCHA, Mar 17)
The UN reported that more than 16,000 people who were stranded in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in areas cut off due to damaged roads and communications have been rescued and brought to evacuation centers. The Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters says there are now just over 20 people still to be reached in Miyagi and Fukushima.
As of Saturday (March 19), more than 376,907 people have been evacuated from the most affected provinces and are staying in around 2,300 shelters. According to the UN this is 5,705 less than the previous day as evacuees are able to go to friends or relatives houses in non-affected areas now that some roads are open. According to the National Police Agency, Miyagi and Fukushima have the most evacuees at 187,719 and 131,655, respectively.
Temporary accommodation for 164,000 evacuees has been offered by non-affected prefectural governments, including a stadium in Tokyo. Saitama Super Arena in Saitama city will also accommodate 5,000 evacuees. The municipalities of 27 prefectures across the country are preparing temporary shelters for evacuees from affected areas. 15,000 people have already moved. (OCHA, Japan Times, March 19)
The construction of temporary housing for evacuees has started in Rikuzentakata City, in Iwate Prefecture. In Rikuzentakata, 200 in total is planned for the city. Plans to build temporary housing at Kamaishi, also in Iwate, was delayed due to fuel shortages. Iwate’s government plans to build a total of 8,800 houses. (Japan Times March 19)
According to OCHA, the MLITT estimates 10,000 temporary houses are needed in Miyagi and 14,000 in Fukushima for the short-term. The GoJ has requested a consortium of constructors to build at least 30,000 temporary houses in two months. (OCHA, March 19)
According to Kyodo, Miyagi governor Yoshihiro Murai called on survivors to move to other prefectures due to the lack of short-term housing in the prefecture. The planned relocation will last around six months to a year until the construction of temporary housing has been completed. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano also said that the GoJ is also considering transferring survivors at evacuation centers in Tohoku region to other areas.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has ordered 600 temporary shelters to be built within two weeks. Another 4,200 shelters will be constructed in four weeks and 30,000 shelters in two months, according to the UN. The municipalities of other prefectures across the country are also preparing temporary shelters for evacuees. The receiving prefectures will make available approximately 6,700 houses/apartments. (OCHA, Kyodo March 18)
Situation at hospitals without water, electricity and gas remains a concern, according to the UN. Hospitals are now fearing that lives saved from the disaster will be lost due to shortage of doctors and medicine.
The UN reports that there is also a shortage of medicines for those with chronic conditions in evacuation centers. Medecins sans Frontieres say they have noted cases of hypothermia, dehydration and respiratory diseases in the evacuation centers. Focus is on the elderly.
Medical assistance has shifted from emergency assistance to providing general healthcare to evacuees. Current medical needs are prevention of infectious disease, post traumatic stress disorder, gastric ulcers, pneumonia, cardiac infection, cerebral stroke, treatment of chronic diseases, and provision of artificial dialysis, according to the UN.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) is coordinating the dispatch of health teams to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. MHLW has relaxed several regulations to facilitate medical assistance.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will dispatch 144 clinical psychotherapists for affected school children in Miyagi and Fukushima. MHLW is also coordinating the dispatch of child welfare specialists to affected areas. (OCHA, March 19)
According to OCHA, the GoJ is preparing to receive medical help from overseas. Although it is illegal for doctors without Japanese medical licenses to practice, the Health Ministry has sent a notice to local governments in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures saying minor procedures may be taken by foreign doctors.
According to the Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters in the Office of the Prime Minister, 3.8 million meals have been delivered to evacuees and hospitals. (OCHA, March 19)
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is coordinating with the private sector to mobilize food and water rations. MAFF is coordinating with organizations under its jurisdiction to share its reserved fuel and stockpiles of food with hospitals. MAFF has requested the private sector for increased production of food products. (OCHA, March-16)
In Sendai, some shops are reopening to provide food to residents, while convenience stores in Tome, Miyagi have resumed business.
Non-Food Items (NFIs)
UNOCHA reports that a substantial amount of NFIs have been mobilized at logistics hubs close to affected areas, but getting the NFIs to affected populations is difficult because coordination and transportation is a challenge. Power outages are affecting the production of basic items. (OCHA, Mar-17)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Some 938,000 households (2.3 million people) are without water across 12 prefectures. (OCHA, Mar-19) The MHLW has been coordinating with 245 water companies to secure emergency water supply. Mobile latrines have been sent to Miyagi. The ministry has also sent 314 water supply vehicles to the most affected areas. (OCHA, March 16)According to the Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters, 2.7 million bottles of water have been delivered to evacuees and hospitals. (OCHA. March 19)
NEC Group is providing 24 hour support to affected prefectures, hospitals and private companies in the northeast to restore IT systems.
Status of nuclear power plants
The situation surrounding Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant remains critical, where since the March 11 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, five of the six nuclear power reactors have experienced varying degrees of emergency. Since then, radiation levels released and/or leaked from Daiichi reactors have significantly increased, causing widespread fears of radiological contamination. On March 18, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) revised upward its evaluation of the severity of the situation at Fukushima Daiichi Unit No. 1-3 reactors by one notch to Level 5 on the 7-Level scale of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). A Level 5 rating implies an accident with wider consequences placing the severity at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979 in which the reactor core had experienced severe damage. Severity level for Daiichi Unit 4 reactor remains at 4. Meanwhile, authorities continue to dump water using helicopters, fire trucks and water cannons in an attempt to buy some time as the workers try to set new power lines to connect various facilities at the troubled plant to reactivate cooling pumps and emergency core cooling systems of the troubled reactors. In a glimmer of hope, an emergency diesel generator was reactivated early this morning to cool off the spent nuclear fuel at the Daiichi Unit 5 reactor that has since brought down the temperature of the fuel storage pool at the reactor to 63.8 degrees Celsius from 68.5 degrees Celsius by 1400 local time. With the addition of this power generator, Units 5 and 6 now have two power generators to supply enough power to maintain cooling functions of the Units 5 & 6 reactors. The plant operator, TEPCO, said workers had made holes in the roofs of the Unit 5 & 6 reactors to remove hydrogen to prevent explosions that occurred at the Unit 1 and Unit 3 reactor buildings. TEPCO also finished preparations to supply the Units 1 & 2 reactor buildings with a stable power source. However, restoring electricity was postponed until Sunday (March 20) following the decision to focus on the water spraying operation for the rest of Saturday. TEPCO also plans to finish setting up new power lines to reactors at Units 3 & 4 by tomorrow. Parts of cooling systems at reactors 2, 5 and 6 are reportedly operable and if the cooling devices at the remaining reactors are in similar shape, it will be a major step forward in stabilizing the situation at Daiichi plant. Citing NISA sources, media is reporting that radiation level at the west gate of the plant, located some half mile (1.1 kilometer) west of the No. 3 reactor, was relatively high at 830.8 microsieverts per hour at 8:10 AM but had then fell to 364.5 microsievers at 9:00 AM.
Citing government sources, Japanese media is reporting that radioactive iodine beyond Japan’s regulated standard was detected in tap water in the town of Kawamata in Fukushima Prefacture. Slight traces of radioactive iodine have been also detected in tap water in Tokyo, its vicinity and most prefectures neighboring Fukushima. Traces of radioactive cesium were also found in tap water in Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures that were well below the regulated levels. Authorities are instituting more rigorous measures in place to keep contaminated food products getting into the food chain. Japanese officials are saying that so far, contamination levels in the foods did not pose any serious health risk.
European Commission has advised its 27 member states to check levels of radioactivity in food imports from Japan as a preventive measure. South Korea and Taiwan are already checking all farm products from Japan for radioactive contamination as well as the radiation level of passengers arriving from Japan at airports. On March 16, Government of Japan instructed authorities in the affected region to check locally produced food, farms products for possible radioactive contamination.
Due to fears of the growing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants some foreign countries have advised their nationals to consider leaving Tokyo and other affected areas, or to leave the country entirely. The US advised its nationals living within an 80-km radius of the plant to evacuate as a precaution (or to take shelter indoors if safe relocation is not possible), and the UK, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand followed suit. The US also “strongly urged” citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time. Singapore urged its nationals to move out of an area within a 100-km radius of the plant. Other countries such as Britain, Australia, France, Italy and Germany have advised their nationals to consider leaving Tokyo while Serbia and Croatia advised their citizens to leave Japan. On Tuesday, China became the first country to organize a mass evacuation of its nationals. The US State Department was arranging transport for US citizens in Japan who want to go to “safe-haven” locations in other parts of Asia. The UK Embassy said that the British government is chartering flights from Tokyo to Hong Kong to supplement commercially available options for those wishing to leave the country. Russia said that it would have families of staff at its Embassy and Consulate General depart from Japan by the end of the week.
Some foreign companies have begun moving headquarters from Tokyo to other areas such as Osaka due to repeated aftershocks, rolling blackouts and the crisis at the nuclear plant at Fukushima. (Asahi, March 19)
Some Embassies have moved operations to elsewhere in the country, such as Germany and Australia, Panama, Austria and Nepal while the Embassies of Croatia, Kosovo, Bahrain, Angola, Liberia, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Iraq have temporarily closed. The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau on Thursday said that an estimated 10,000 foreign nationals have left or are leaving the country. (OCHA, Kyodo, Japan Times, NHK, March 17-18)
According to the World Bank (WB), initial estimates of economic losses range between US$15 billion and US$35 billion. Equecat, a risk consultancy, estimated over the weekend that economic losses would total more than US$100 billion. According to Reuters, Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano said that the economic damages from the disaster would exceed 20 trillion yen (US$248 billion). The 1995 Kobe earthquake caused some US$100 billion in damage and was the most expensive natural disaster in history, according to Reuters.
Citigroup estimated 5-10 trillion yen in damages to housing and infrastructure while Barclays Capital estimates economic losses of 15 trillion yen (US$183.7 billion). Goldman Sachs estimated total economic losses to be 16 trillion yen. (US$198 billion) (Reuters, March 19)
The WB reports that the northeastern region of Tohoku accounts for some 8 percent of the Japanese economy. WB says some economists predict the disaster will push the country into recession with hundreds of factories shut across the country.
USB expects Japan’s economy to grow 1.4 percent this year, compared to a previous forecast of 1.5 percent and also upgraded its growth forecast for next year to 2.5 percent, up from a previous estimate of 2.1 percent. (Reuters, March 19)
On March 16, the Bank of Japan offered an additional 13.8 trillion yen (US$170 billion) to money markets, bringing the total to 55.6 trillion yen (US$696 billion) in emergency funds made available by the central bank to protect the nation’s banking system (Kyodo, Mar-16)
The GoJ plans to dedicate up to 10 trillion yen (US$127 billion) in crisis lending to businesses to help them finance daily operations and repair damages from the disaster, according to the Nikkei newspaper.
Immediately following the disaster, the Government of Japan (GoJ) established an Emergency Response Team, headed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan. According to the Japan Times, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) swung into full action on March 12. All available SDF resources were mobilized for rescue efforts. The Ministry of National Defense has so far deployed 100,000 troops to lead the relief effort. The GoJ officially decided Wednesday to dispatch SDF reserve personnel. It is the first deployment since the SDF was established in 1954. The Defense Minister says some 10,000 reservists will be called up (Kyodo, Mar-16).
Prime Minister Kan is planning to visit the affected areas on Monday (Mar 21) to assess the current situation. (OCHA, Mar 19)
The GoJ has disbursed US$66 million (5.4 billion Yen) from its reserve fund to cover fuel costs for the deployment of the SDF, which has been working to transfer relief supplies and gasoline to devastated areas.
Various national agencies have provided personnel mobilized from prefectures for the relief operation. The National Police Agency (NPA) has also readied 1,115 police officers and seven helicopters, while the Fire and Disaster Management Agency has provided 2,588 personnel, including 19 air units. The NPA has established call centers to provide guidance and support to help find missing family members. (OCHA, March 16)
A “Volunteers Coordination Unit” under the Chief Cabinet Secretary’s Office was announced by the GoJ on Thursday (Mar 17). (OCHA, Mar 17)
The GoJ declared a State of Nuclear Emergency on March 11 due to the threat posed by reactors in two Fukushima nuclear power plants, which prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents on March 12. The central government sent senior officials and troops to the nuclear plant to help cope with the emergency. The GoJ asked UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to deploy a technical support team to the affected area and coordinate international nuclear response support to Japan through the Response and Assistance Network (RANET). A US nuclear expert team is supporting Japanese counterparts in handling the emergency. (OCHA, Mar 15)
Information from the Government of Japan can be found at http://www.kantei.go.jp.
The following national NGOs are reportedly active in affected areas: JPF, Association for Aid and Relief (AAR), ADRA Japan, Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA), Civic Force, Japan Rescue Association, JEN, Japan International Food for the Hungry (JIFH), MSF, NICCO, Peace Winds Japan, Shizuoka Volunteer Center, the NGO collaboration center for Hanshin Quake rehabilitation, and World Vision Japan, distributing food and water, relief items, medical assistance and carrying out rescue activities. Other NGOs providing support are CARE Japan, KnK, Shanto Volunteer Association (SDVA), Plan Japan and Charity Platform. (SEEDS, Mar 18)
Some NGOs are working through Japan Platform, an established emergency humanitarian aid NGO, working as an umbrella agency for Japanese NGOs supporting refugees and disasters globally. More Japanese NGOs are expected to arrive in the affected areas in the coming days.
Since the disaster hit, the Japanese Red Cross (JRC) has deployed 171 teams, including domestic Emergency Response Units to Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tochigi, Nagano and Yamagata, of which 48 are still active. (Reuters, Mar 18) These teams are on the ground providing first aid and healthcare in affected areas through operating mobile medical clinics, and are assessing the damage and needs of the affected communities. JRC is also providing psychosocial support, and has a team based at Ishinomaki Hospital in Miyagi Prefecture. The JRC has distributed 92,000 blankets as of Friday (Mar 18) to evacuees in temporary centers established in schools and public buildings. In response to damages caused to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the JRC also remains prepared to support those evacuated from the exclusion zone, and continues to closely monitor the situation. All of the JRC branches (47) are equipped with special equipment to cope with nuclear, biological or chemical disasters. Red Cross volunteers continue to give out relief items, ensuring displaced people are offered hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation. (IFRC, OCHA, Mar 11-15)
The JRC facilitated by the ICRC, are encouraging those living overseas to make use of the ICRC’s restoring Family Links website (www.familylinks.icrc.org) to help people seeking to re-establish contact with family members and friends missing since the disaster hit. (ICRC, Mar-12)
As part of its national disaster response preparation, community-based disaster response groups known as “Jishubo,” are trained and equipped to help rescue trapped survivors, guide people to evacuation centers and provide food and water. (Reuters, March 15)
The Bank of Japan established a task force led by Governor Masaaki Shirakawa. (Japan Times, Mar 11)
Nippon Telephone and Telegraph company has started an emergency message service
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA): ADRA Japan has provided hot meals to an evacuation center in the Miyagino Ward of Sendai City. ADRA is preparing to accommodate 1,000 evacuees with food, non-food items and transportation. (ADRA, March 15)
Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA): Four members of AMDA team in Sendai City, moved operations to Iwate Prefecture to assist one of the most severely damaged sites, Kamaishi City. On Tuesday (Mar 15) they started to deliver mobile clinic services to the local evacuation centers. To date, AMDA has dispatched 25 relief personnel: 10 doctors, four nurses, eight coordinators and one midwife, lab technician and pharmacist. (AMDA, Mar 17)
Kokusai Kyogo: a Japanese company specializing in topographical mapping and GIS, are already working with the GoJ. (OCHA, Mar 15)
Peace Winds Japan (PWJ): Peace Winds Japan, working with Mercy Corps, will be providing large emergency disaster shelters (balloon shelters) to accommodate evacuees in Kesennuma City in Miyagi. On Tuesday, two helicopters filled with PWJ relief foods and materials arrived in Kesennuma while a land transportation team of four, have left Niigata and are on the way with additional relief. (PWJ, Mar 15) Continuing disaster relief in Kesennuma City, PWJ started free iridium satellite telephone services and mobile phone charging services starting Thursday (Mar 17). At Kesennuma City Gymnasium, PWJ distributed 600 blankets donated by IKEA Japan and other relief materials. (PWJ, Mar 17)
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is coordinating all offers of international assistance. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, as of Saturday (Mar 19), 128 countries and 33 international organizations have offered their assistance to Japan. The GoJ has only accepted international support in a few specific areas, such as search and rescue teams, medical help and nuclear specialists. (Reuters, Mar 18-19)
For relief items: The GoJ is identifying the needs and setting up a mechanism for storage and transportation to affected people. They recommend not sending any relief goods without the coordination with the Government.
For NGOs: Because the SAR operation phase continues in affected areas, access to those areas are strictly limited to rescue workers and the temporary shortage of petrol in affected areas, international/foreign NGOs are recommended to wait until the situation improves so that those NGOs are able to conduct their activities in a self-sustainable way. (OCHA, Mar 17)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep sorrow and offered the UN’s full support in providing humanitarian assistance to Japan. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) has been in contact with the OCHA Kobe office that will monitor government and media sources. OCHA has been using its regional offices in Bangkok and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region to monitor the situation. (OCHA, Mar 11-12) OCHA’s Director of Coordination and Response John Ging will visit Japan Sunday to Monday (March 20-21). (OCHA, Mar 19)
On Monday (Mar 14), spokeswoman for OCHA, Elisabeth Byrs, said that the UN does not plan to mount a bigger relief operation unless requested. (Reuters, Mar 14) Aside from the requested assistance from the UNDAC team and the WFP, the Japanese government has not requested support from other UN agencies.
A nine-member UN Disaster and Assessment (UNDAC) team arrived in Tokyo on March 13. On Monday (Mar 14), the UNDAC team met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Tokyo, agreeing that they will support the GoJ with information management, help coordinate the international USAR teams and assist with assessments and environmental hazard analysis. To facilitate coordination, an On-Site Operations Coordination center (OSOCC) has been set up in the premises of JICA Tokyo International Center. Regular updates on USAR teams are posted on the Virtual OSOCC) UNDAC is developing a basic “3W” to better understand where assistance is being delivered and who is operating where. (OCHA, Mar 12-16).
A joint UNDAC/DART assessment team flew from Tokyo to a small town in Ibaraki Prefecture, Oarai, Thursday (Mar 17), on a US military helicopter. Following an aerial survey of the area, they landed and secured ground transport to assess tsunami damage. Significant damage to boats and some short front properties were observed. The team tried to fly to Sendai around the US specified 80 km zone, but bad weather forced helicopters to return to Tokyo. (OCHA, Mar 17)
OCHA reported Saturday (Mar 19) that the UNDAC team accompanied by MapAction attended a coordination meeting by NGO consortia, Japan Platform, to discuss coordination of both national and international NGOs assisting in the humanitarian response. The Cabinet Secretariat, MOFA, JICA, UNHCR, WFP, the OFDA DART Team, World Vision and other international NGO’s were also in attendance. It was agreed that further discussion will take place with Japan Platform potentially having a key coordination role in partnership with the Cabinet Secretariat. (OCHA, Mar 19)
Environmental experts who make up a specialized unit of OCHA and the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) are closely monitoring the nuclear crisis, but have not been dispatched. (Reuters, Mar 14)
The UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has dispatched emergency telecommunications equipment to severely affected areas in Japan. ITU reported, Thursday (Mar 17) the deployment of 78 Thuraya satellite phones equipped with GPS to facilitate search and rescue efforts, 13 Iridium satellite phones and 37 Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals. Thirty more Inmarsat terminals are also ready to be sent. (ITU, Mar 16)
The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and UN Operational Satellite Applications Program (UNOSAT) are monitoring the situation. UNOSAT reported that the Space Charter was triggered by Japan on March 13. (OCHA, Mar 11, 13) UNITAR/UNOSAT has produced a map (http://www.unitar.org/unosat/node/44/1549) that illustrates satellite-detected standing bodies of water remaining after the tsunami over the city of Sendai and affected areas south in Miyagi Prefecture. (OCHA, Mar 19)
The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) offered technical assistance and its Good Offices to Japan on Monday (Mar 14), which made available the agency’s direct support and coordination of international assistance. On March 15, the GoJ asked the IAEA to provide expert missions to the country. The IAEA is coordinating assistance from Member States through the Response and Assistance Network (RANET), which consists of nations able to offer specialized assistance after a radiation incident or emergency. (IAEA, Mar 15) IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano departed for Japan on Thursday (Mar 17) to determine what further help the UN agency could offer. (UN News Service, Mar 18)
The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism and is monitoring the direction of winds and any potential path, is also in contact with the IAEA. (UN News Center, Mar 18)
The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) deployed a logistics team to assist the JRC in procurement and supply chain activities. (OCHA, Mar 15) Following the GoJ’s request to the WFP, the UN agency’s Ambassador Against Hunger in the Republic of Korea, Jang Dong Gun, has donated US$180,000 (200 million Korean Won) to support the WFP relief effort. (WFP, Mar 17) OCHA reported WFP in collaboration with TNT, has begun assisting in the transport of 60,000 blankets to affected areas. (OCHA, Mar 17) Special Operation WFP will provide logistics support, including the deployment of experts to participate in the GoJ’s central coordination response unit, the establishment of a logistics coordination cell at Narita Airport, Tokyo and the provision of emergency storage facilities to support the response efforts of the GoJ. WFP reports duration of the project to be two months. (WFP, Mar 18)
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned members of the general public on Thursday, against self-medicating with potassium iodide or with products containing iodide as a precaution against nuclear radiation. WHO advised that potassium iodide should only be taken when there is a clear public health recommendation to do so, as indiscriminate use can cause side-effects. (WHO, Mar 17) The WHO/WPRO is coordinating with WHO Kobe Center and jointly monitoring the situation. Dr H Ogawa, Team Leader Environmental Health of WHO/WPRO, arrived in Tokyo Friday to support the WHO Kobe Center and to coordinate with the UNDAC team. (WHO, Mar 19)
American Red Cross (ARC): The ARC is accepting donations of US$10 through text messages of “redcross” sent to 90999.
AmeriCares: AmeriCares dispatched an emergency response manager to Tokyo to direct efforts of their relief workers in Sendai. Their team is in direct contact with local officials, evacuation shelters and hospitals treating the injured in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures to determine health needs. They are preparing a shipment of basic hygiene items for urgent delivery to shelters in Miyagi and Iwate based on early assessments. Additionally, they are establishing an office in Tokyo to coordinate relief efforts. AmeriCares and its relief workers in Japan continue to work to deliver medicines and supplies to hospitals, shelters and health responders. (AmeriCares, Mar 18)
Asian Development Bank (ADB): The ADB promised to provide aid to Japan following damage assessments, and said it was closely monitoring the impact of the quake and tsunami. (China Post, Mar 15)
CARE: CARE Japan is sending a convoy of three vehicles with relief items to Kamaishi city in Iwate prefecture. (CARE, Mar 16) CARE will also be coordinating with other organizations and local governments to assist people for the next 12 to 18 months. CARE USA has raised enough funds to support initial emergency response in Japan. (CARE, Mar-18)
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: is working to partner with local and international Christian organizations for a response. CRWRC will partner with partners on the ground with an established network of international Christian partners and alliances, including the Christian Relief, Assistance Support, and Hope (CRASH). Initial plans for a longer term response to address housing reconstruction and livelihood rehabilitation are being made through a coalition of Christian churches and organizations, including Christian Reformed World Missions and Back to God Ministries International. (CRWRC, Mar-16)
Convoy of Hope (COH): On top of funds already wired by COH to in-country partners for the purchase of emergency rations, COH is in the process of shipping a 40-foot long container from the Philippines loaded with over 50,000 meals, dried fruit, powdered milk, water and sanitary cooking supplies. COH’s network of partners in Japan will be giving out the items to evacuation centers and national churches. (COH, Mar 18)
Google: Google offered up YouTube on Friday (Mar 18) to help victims from the quake and tsunami find missing loved ones. YouTube began posting videos of victims of the disaster appealing for information about friends and family. The videos were taken in shelters around Japan and are posted at youtube.com/shousoku. The “YouTube Missing Person Finder” is a video version of a “Person Finder” Web tool launched by Google in the immediate aftermath of the quake to find missing persons. The “Person Finder” was tracking nearly 330,000 records as of Friday. Google is posting lists of residents of shelters on photo-sharing site Picasa, and has set up a multi-lingual Crisis Response Page with links to the “Person Finder” and other resources. (AFP, Mar 18)
Indonesia Aid, an NGO Consortium, has been working in Sendai since March 12 and is helping the Indonesian Embassy to evacuate its citizens, mostly students, as well as distributing relief items, such as blankets, food, drunks, gas burners, heaters, and kerosene, in Miyagi. (OCHA, Mar 18)
InterAction: InterAction, an alliance of US based NGOs, is maintaining a list of organizations accepting donations for the Japanese earthquake response.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): A communications delegate from the Asia Pacific IFRC office has been deployed to the affected area. In addition, the Asia Pacific Regional Logistics Unit has emergency stocks ready to be dispatched from Kuala Lumpur if needed. A deployed IFRC High Level Support/Liaison Team supporting the JRCS travelled to Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures. (OCHA, Mar 14-15) The IFRC has sent an assessment team to Japan and is talking with the local Red Cross on ways to assist. (Reuters, Mar 18)
The International Medical Corps (IMC): An IMC emergency response team is on the ground in Sendai and currently coordinating with local officials to support response efforts, fill critical gaps and deliver supplies. The IMC went to coastal communities, north of Sendai to assess post-disaster conditions and determine needs. Following assessment in affected areas close to Sendai, IMC identified the need for medical care, food, water, essential medications and non-food items supplies in evacuation centers. Psychosocial support is also needed. (IMC, OCHA, Mar 18-19) IMC has four medical teams on standby, prepared to airlift more supplies as needed. Also, IMC is providing logistical support and technical expertise to local health authorities. (IMC, Mar 18)
International Organization for Migration (IOM): IOM is supporting efforts to disseminate information to a variety of migrant communities living in Japan. According to the Ministry of Justice, some 2.18 million foreign nationals were registered as living in Japan in 2009. Multilingual information services are posted on the IOM Japan mission Web site at: http://www.iomjapan.org/news/press_237.cfm. Information is also being disseminated through public and commercial radio. (OCHA, Mar 16)
International Rescue Committee (IRC): The IRC’s director of emergency response programs says that emergency team members are on standby. The IRC meanwhile says it is starting to direct assistance to Japanese aid groups with better access to affected communities. (IRC, Mar. 15) Their support is going to aid Peace Winds Japan and plans to designate funds for at least one other Japanese organization that will focus on long-term recovery assistance. (IRC, Mar 17)
Maltesar International (MI) has provided US$35,000 (25,000 Euros) to the GoJ from its emergency relief fund for emergency aid in Japan. (MI, Mar 14) MI will support a children’s home in the small town of Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture that was badly damaged. A psychotherapist is providing psychosocial care for children, but more assistance is needed. (MI, Mar 17) MI is providing US$14,000 (10,000 Euros) from its emergency funds so that urgently needed items can be purchased immediately for the 60 children and 31 staff that reside there. The contribution is intended to also help replace the glass panes and finance further repairs necessary for security reasons. (MI, Mar 18) The GoJ has asked the school to take in orphans and other children made homeless by the quake. (Reuters, Mar 18)
MapAction received a request through the UN for a MapAction team to go to Tokyo. The MapAction team will provide the mapping and information support for an UNDAC team that has just flown out to help the GoJ in coordinating international assistance. (MapAction, Mar 15) MapAction has developed a detailed map displaying the numbers of dead, missing injured and evacuated in each affected province. (Reuters, Mar 18)
Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) has 50 staff in Japan, with 12 in the field operating mobile clinics and assessments in Miyagi Prefecture. MSF identified the major problem of elderly people with chronic diseases having their treatment interrupted after losing their homes. An MSF doctor estimated some 200,000 elderly survivors in need of medication for diabetes or hypertension. MSF staff is helping to locate them before their conditions become acute. Dehydration and hypothermia are also concerning for the elderly. (Reuters, Mar 18)
Mercy Corps is working with PWJ and are delivering large emergency shelters (balloon shelters), tents, blankets, instant rice and fresh produce to families evacuated from homes in Kesennuma City in Miyagi. Reuters reports heavy winds hampering the establishment of the balloon shelters. (Reuters, Mar 18) Corps responders in the region stand ready to support Peace Winds’ efforts. (Mercy Corps, Mar 13)
MERCY Malaysia: MERCY Malaysia deployed a four-person rapid assessment team, consisting of one surgeon, a logistics, person, a medical officer and a psychologist, to Tokyo on March 14. MERCY Malaysia Friday (Mar 18) announced the launching of the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund after securing a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) to channel funds to the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA). An initial US$10,000 was given to AMDA. (MERCY Malaysia, March 13, 18)
Oxfam: Oxfam is saying that it is monitoring the situation and remains on standby to respond to affected regions.
Operation Blessing International: The US-based relief organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI) says it is deploying a medical team out of its Manila, Philippines office to Japan. In Rikuzen Takata, Japan, the OBI disaster relief team has supplied food and water to over 1,500 people despite heavy snow, a lack of fuel, impassable roads and the nuclear threat. OBI plans to distribute kerosene for the heaters in shelters. (OBI, Mar 17)
Peace Winds America (PWA): On Tuesday (Mar 15), PWA CEO arrived in Tokyo to start working alongside Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), their sister organization. Their efforts have been targeting relief to Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture, and on Saturday (Mar 19), they will helicopter to the site to deliver food stuffs and medical supplies. The Peace Winds mission will be joined by a Mercy Corps officer. (PWA, Mar 17)
Plan International: Plan will focus its aid on providing child care and protection programs through Japanese partner NGOs and local authorities in the northeast of Sendai region. Immediate aid being provided includes clothing, heating equipment, water and sanitation, food, healthcare, supporting community kitchens and providing child-friendly spaces. The first stage of Plan’s response is set to last three months with a 15 month recovery program, which will focus on ‘emotional first-aid’ for children. Plan in Japan has launched an in-country appeal and as of Friday (Mar 18), has raised US$140,000 from existing supporters. (Reuters, Plan, Mar 18)
Red Cross Society of China (RCSC): The RCSC decided to donate US$152,087 (1 million Yuan) on Saturday in emergency aid to its Japanese counterpart, the Red Cross Society of Japan. (RCSC, Mar 14) An additional US$760,600 (5 million Yuan) for emergency aid was offered to Japan on Tuesday. (RCSC, Mar 15)
Save the Children (SC): SC has deployed emergency response teams to assess the needs of children and their families in the worst-affected areas. A team in Sendai is setting up an operations base to help the most vulnerable children and their families. (SC, Mar 13-14) SC opened its first Child Friendly Space, a protective environment that helps relieve the trauma faced by children, and plan to establish more of them over the coming days. SC’s relief operation is being run from Tokyo, with an operational base in Sendai. (SC, Mar 16-17) SC decided on Friday (Mar 18) to expand its humanitarian relief effort after conducting exploratory missions north of Sendai and seeing the shortages of essential goods for displaced children. On Saturday (Mar 19), SC will start giving out blankets to help mitigate the bitter cold weather, while distributions are being planned to ensure that children are not left without essential goods. (SC, Mar 18) SC has launched a US$1.62 million (1 million Pounds) appeal to help children affected by the disaster. (Reuters, Mar 18)
Telecoms sans Frontiers (TSF): TSF has deployed a team from its regional base in Bangkok to assess communications and are now providing emergency telecommunications assistance from Tokyo. (TSF, OCHA, Mar 13-14)
Turkish Red Crescent Society: A three-member assessment team from the Turkish Red Crescent Society arrived in Japan on Saturday. (OCHA, Mar 13)
Tzu Chi Foundation: The Tzu Chi Foundation established an emergency coordination center in its global headquarters in Taiwan. Their chapter in Tokyo has opened its office as a shelter. To date, they have provided 500 items for those trapped on the streets of the capital. Volunteers have begun to assess the needs of residents who are in emergency shelters. (Buddhist Tzu, Mar 14)
Walt Disney Co. announced it will give US$2.5 million to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts. The company also said that it would match dollar-for-dollar all relief funds raised by employees up to US$1 million.
World Bank: WB President Zoellick has offered the Bank’s fullest support which may include knowledge and support exchange missions following the humanitarian phase. (WB, March 16) The WB’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is on alert for a rapid response through the Bank’s Quick Reaction Team (QRT) and DRM Global Expert Team (GET). The Bank and GFDDR have already liaised with counterpart ministries in the GoJ on possible areas of support in the event the GoJ should accept assistance. (WB, Mar-16)
World Vision International (WVI): The President of World Vision International Kevin Jenkins, has declared a partnership-wide response, and confirmed a US$10 million appeal across the partnership to help finance a relief response. A WVI assessment team reached Sendai within 48 hours of the tragedy to explore how WVI could support the GoJ. WVI in Japan will be deploying three staff to the quake zone to assess the impact. They are responding with an initial budget of US$400,000 for a one-month period. WV plans to distribute daily necessities following the assessment. (WV, Mar 13) World Vision relief items, sufficient to reach 6,000 people arrived on Thursday (Mar 17) and are reportedly en route to be distributed in Minami Sanriku on Friday (Mar 18). In Minami Sanriku, 9,600 were displaced into 40 shelters. Japanese authorities will organize the distribution of supplies, including bottles of water, blankets and wet wipes for children. (WV, Mar 18)
Afghanistan: The mayor of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, Ghulam Haidar Hamidi, announced it was donating US$50,000 in aid. (AFP, Mar 12)
Australia: Australia has sent dogs and search and rescue teams at the request of GoJ, while OCHA reported the country is deploying 72 specialists and 22 tons of rescue and medical equipment. (OCHA, AFP, Mar 12) Australia on Monday also offered self-contained field hospitals and sent disaster victim identification teams, with two military transport aircraft carrying SAR teams. (Reuters, Mar 14) The Australians are also providing nuclear expert assistance. (OCHA, Mar 16) The Royal Australian Air Force (RAFF) is working endlessly to help ferry personnel and supplies from Okinawa to the Japanese disaster zone as part of Operation Pacific Assist, the Australian Defense Force component of the Australian’s Government’s assistance to Japan. Australia’s C-17 Globemaster III will pick up members of the 15th Brigade of the GSDF, their vehicles and equipment, and fly them to Japan to assist in relief efforts. Since the mission was challenging, the RAAF deployed an eight-person Mobile Air Load Team that specializes in preparing and arranging loads to fill the C-17’s large interior. (GoA, Mar 18)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): ASEAN Member States’ assistance has been offered in various forms, including cash, medical assistance, food and rescue efforts. Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have all made contributions to assist Japan so far. ASEAN stands ready to provide more support, assistance and contributions as identified by Japan and will continue to be in close contact with Japan to ensure efficient mobilization of relief. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
Austria: Rapid Response Health teams were mobilized from Austria (12 medical staff) and will arrive on Monday. (OCHA, Mar 13)
Canada: The Canadian government has put a range of capabilities at Japan’s disposal, including a 17 member Disaster Victim Identification team, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear technical expertise and equipment, which is on standby and ready to be deployed. (GoC, Mar 14) Canada, working with the Canadian Red Cross, will provide some 25,000 woven thermal wool blankets from its emergency relief stockpile. (CIDA, GoC, Mar 16)
Cambodia: Cambodia has contributed US$100,000 for relief of the victims. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
China: A Chinese emergency rescue team was accepted by the GoJ, and a charter plane, consisting of a 15 member team arrived on Sunday. The Chinese International Search and Rescue Team, which will operate in Ofunato City in Iwate Prefecture, brought four tons of materials and equipment, and their own power supply and telecommunication. The ministry also announced Monday that China will provide US$4.56 million (30 million Yuan) worth of relief supplies to Japan. Relief items include: 2,000 blankets, 900 cotton tents and 200 emergency lights, valued at US$1.1 million (7.2 million Yuan). (GoJ, Xinhua, Mar 13-14) In east China’s Zhejiang Province, the municipal government of Wenzhou said they will donate US$307,692 (2 million Yuan) to Ishinomaki, its Japanese sister city in Miyagi Prefecture. Previously the provincial government of Jilin said it will donate US$100,000 to the prefectural government of Miyagi, while the municipal government of Changchun, capital of Jilin, pledged some US$76,000 (500,000 Yuan) to the municipal government of Sendai. (Xinhua, Mar 16)
Estonia: The Estonian Foreign Ministry is allocating US$280,000 (200,000 Euro) to help victims of the disaster in Japan. (GoE, Mar 14)
European Union (EU): The Civil Protection coordination mechanism (MIC) dispatched a civil liaison officer to Japan Sunday to reinforce the EU Delegation in Tokyo and prepare for a possible deployment of a coordination team. (EU, Mar 14) The EU MIC sent a team to coordinate in-kind support from EU Member-States. The team is completely self-sufficient in terms of fuel, language, food, water, transport and drivers. At the request of the GoJ, the team will provide food, bottled water, temporary and disposable toilets, tents, plastic gloves and blankets. (OCHA, Mar 19) ECHO: The MIC has received various offers from Participating States, including some 100,000 blankets. MIC is looking to procure items locally or regionally. The MIC is urging States to wait with the deployment of assistance until the 16-member EU Civil Protection Team (EUCP) is in place, necessary warehousing is provided and operational arrangements are in place for distribution of relief. The team is leaving Friday. States should plan for assistance arriving at the earliest on March 21. (ECHO, March 17, 18)
France: France has deployed a search and rescue team consisting of 134 personnel. (Reuters, Mar 14) AREVA, France-based nuclear energy firm, has sent special protective gear to japan for workers battling to resolve the nuclear crisis. Gear, including 10,000 protective suits, 20,000 pairs of gloves and 3,000 masks, is set to arrive on Friday (Mar 18) night. At the request of the GoJ, French utility EDF also plans to send 100 tons of boric acid to Japan. The French government has already dispatched 12 radiation experts, including doctors and decontamination specialists. (NHK, Mar 18)
Germany: Germany has sent a search and rescue team consisting of 41 people and three dogs. (Reuters, Mar 14)
Hungary: Hungary’s emergency authority said it had offered a 16-member crew as part of the International Response Assistance Network program to check radiation and perform medical advisory work in seven monitoring teams. (Reuters, Mar 14)
India: The Ambassador of India to Japan delivered relief material, comprising 25,000 blankets, to Japan on behalf of the Government and people of India. (GoI, Mar 17) OCHA reported that India will be deploying a 50 person team, including medical personnel to assist in the recovery effort. (OCHA, Mar 19)
Ireland: The Government of Ireland (GoI) approved an estimated US$1.39 million (1 million Euros) in emergency funding for the Red Cross relief operation in Japan, after an appeal by the Japanese Government on Tuesday (Mar 15) for European Union assistance in response to the quake and tsunami. After the GoJ also asked the EU for blankets, mattresses and water tanks, Irish Aid made available its stockpiles of these items in both Subang, Malaysia and Dubai. (GoI, Mar 16)
Indonesia: Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) will send a 64-person trained Quick Response Team, equipped with medical supplies. Included in the team are the Indonesian Armed Forces, a search and rescue team and a medical team. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
Lao PDR has provided US$100,000 in emergency relief to Japan and has agreed to establish a national committee to raise more funds and to be ready to send personnel. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
Lithuania: Lithuanian state fire and rescue service said it was prepared to offer up to 32 rescuers, including three with search dogs and three paramedics. Lithuania coordinates assistance via the EU. (Reuters, Mar-14)
Maldives: The Maldives has said it will provide Japan with 1,800 cases of Maldivian tuna, which is equivalent to 86,400 individual cans. The shipment of tuna is reportedly worth US$93,700 (1.2 million Maldivian Ruffiya). (Minivan News, Mar 13)
Mongolia: Mongolia has donated US$1 million, along with 2,500 woolen blankets, and offered to send up to 300 soldiers to help with relief efforts. (Reuters, Mar 14) The GoJ decided to accept an emergency rescue team from Mongolia, Tuesday (Mar 15), which is set to arrive the same day. The 12 member rescue team is from the National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia. (GoJ, Mar 15)
New Zealand: has sent a search and rescue help team consisting of 65 personnel. (Reuters, Mar 14)
Philippines: The Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it is prepared to deploy a search and rescue contingent, and ready to send more, if necessary. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
Russia: A group of EMERCOM rescuers, Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, arrived in Tokyo Monday, and have three rescue motor vehicles, search and rescue equipment, hydraulic tools and all that is needed for autonomous operations within two weeks. (GoRF, Reuters, Mar 14) In Sendai, 79 Russian rescuers commenced search and rescue operations in the northeastern part of Sendai on Wednesday (Mar 16). Two more EMERCOM airplanes, An-74 and IL-76, with rescuers and an expert group of “Rosatom” corporation, the state nuclear corporation, arrived in Japan Wednesday, bringing the total number of Russian personnel to 82. Rosatom has offered to help in responding to problems at the nuclear plants. Additionally, 8,600 blankets were delivered, while Russia plans to provide relief aid in the form of 10,000 blankets and 10,000 mattresses, after Japan had requested it. (EMERCOM, Mar 16) As of Friday (Mar 19), Russian rescuers have examined an area of about 100 sq km and extracted 112 bodies buried in the rubble. There have been no survivors yet. Russian specialists will move to the west of the island soon. (GoRF, Mar 18)
Singapore Civil Defense Force’s Operation Lion Heart contingent was activated and consists of five search specialists and search dogs each. (ASEAN, Mar 16)
Slovakia: PM Iveta Radicova told parliament that Slovakia had 250,000 Euros prepared for Japan, but would coordinate with other EU states. They also have 25 rescue workers prepared to deploy if asked for. (Reuters, Mar 14)
South Africa: A 47-member South African Search and Rescue team has deployed to assist in Japan. (OCHA, Mar 19)
South Korea: The GoJ accepted a team from the Republic of South Korea (ROK) on Sunday. Consisting of 102 personnel, including rescue workers and two officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the team is scheduled to arrive on Monday. (GoJ, Mar 14) A further 100 rescue workers are on standby to support Japan, while an advance team of five rescue workers and two search dogs have been in Japan since Saturday. (Reuters, Mar 14) The Republic of Korea plans to transfer its reserve of boron. (OCHA, Mar 16)
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka announced a contribution of US$1 million and a military relief team with medical assistance to be sent to Japan. (Reuters, Mar 14)
Switzerland: Switzerland announced it was sending a team of some 25 rescue and medical experts along with nine sniffer dogs following an official request from the GoJ. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs also plans to deploy three more members of staff to assist the Swiss representation in Tokyo. Two specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), who were deployed in Beijing, have arrived in Japan. (Reuters, GoS, Mar 12, 15)
Taiwan: A 28-member team of rescue specialists left for Tokyo on Monday. A first batch of supplies has also been sent. (Reuters, Mar 14)
Thailand: Thailand’s cabinet has allocated US$6.58 million (200 million Baht) to buy warm clothes, gloves, rubber boots, instant food and other goods. The country will also send 15,000 tons of rice. Also, Thailand has a medical team leaving on Monday night that will be caring for about 500-600 Thai people affected in Japan. (Reuters, Mar 14)
Turkey: The Republic of Turkey will be deploying aid and a rescue team. The team consists of 33 personnel and will arrive in Japan on Saturday (Mar 19) afternoon. The area of operations of Turkey’s team is still under discussion. (GoJ, Mar 19)
Ukraine: Japan accepted the offer of relief supplies from Ukraine, which consisted of some 2,000 blankets. It arrived on Thursday (Mar 17) and will be sent to the disaster-stricken regions by the cooperation of the International Friendship Exchange Council and Sagawa Express. Ukraine also communicated their preparedness to extend further assistance to Japan. (GoJ, Mar 18)
United Kingdom: After a direct appeal from the GoJ, Britain sent a team of 64 fire service search and rescue specialists, two rescue dogs and a medical support team to join the international relief effort. The team will bring 11 tons of specialist rescue equipment, including heavy lifting and cutting equipment. They said it would send nuclear physicists if requested. (Reuters, Mar 14) The SAR team has now arrived at their base, 20km outside Ofunato and are coordinating rescue operations with the US teams and local SAR teams. The British Ambassador and a team of consular staff are in Sendai to assess the damage and locate British nationals. Three specialist consular teams have also arrived. 47 additional consular staff are now in Japan and more are due to arrive soon. UK officials are also at Narita and Haneda airports. The UK has offered humanitarian assistance, Disaster Victim Identification and nuclear expertise to the GoJ. A dedicated crisis unit has been established in the Foreign Office and DFID has activated its humanitarian operations room. (DFID, Mar-15)
United States: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has authorized up to US$35 million in initial Defense Department funds for humanitarian aid to Japan. (AFPS, Mar 17) The US has established Operation “Tomodachi,” which is Japanese for “friendship.” (OCHA, Mar 15), and will be led by Japan SDF. The operation team is a joint task force of the US armed forces that are prepared to provide a multitude of capabilities including equipment, air, sea and ground capability and expertise, including SAR provisions, medical services, food, shelter, command and control, and fuel. According to the Department of Defense (DoD) there are 14 US Navy ships, about 17,000 sailors and Marines and more than 100 aircraft involved in humanitarian assistance and helping to support disaster relief operations, led by the GoJ. (GoJ, Mar 19)
According to the DoD, US Forces-Japan (USFJ), led by Lt Gen Burton M Field, is coordinating with the US Embassy in Tokyo to support the GoJ response. USFJ is the lead US military command, coordinating relief efforts with the GoJ and Japan SDF. They are providing air transport of Japanese SDF personnel and vehicles responding to the disaster. Additionally, they are providing emergency relief supplies, including safe drinking water and blankets to affected populations. JSDF has established a Joint Task Force in Yamagata Prefecture in order to establish a Operations Center which will facilitate coordination of all foreign military aid efforts and establish a refueling location for helicopters. (USAID, Mar 14) The US has permitted the GoJ to use Misawa and Yokota airbases for aircraft carrying humanitarian personnel and supplies. (USAID, Mar 13) The US has also delivered two fire trucks from military bases to be used by the Japanese, who have also requested more hoses and pumps. (AFPS, Mar 16)
US Navy (USN)
US Seventh Fleet remains committed to assisting Japan in relief efforts, having 12,750 personnel, 20 ships and 140 aircraft participating in Operation Tomodachi. (PACOM, Mar 19)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived on Sunday (Mar 12) and is set to serve as a place for Japanese helicopters to land and refuel. The Reagan Carrier Strike Group, including the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, the destroyer USS Preble and the combat support ship USNS Bridge, are conducting operations off the coast of Honshu Island and is at a safe distance northeast of the Fukushima nuclear complex. Also conducting humanitarian operations off the east coast of Iwate Prefecture, are guided-missile destroyers, USS Fitzgerald, USS John S McCain, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin and USS Curtis Wilbur. PACOM reported three US Navy liaison officers are on JS Hyuga to coordinate US operations with Japan Maritime SDF leadership.
Helicopters from the USS Reagan strike group and Carrier Airwing Five Atsugi, delivered 28 tons of food, water, clothes, medicine, toiletries, baby supplies and kerosene to displaced persons at 15 relief sites. (PACOM, Reuters, AFPS, Mar 13-18) Meanwhile, the cruiser USS Cowpens continued to travel north to rendezvous with the Reagan Carrier Strike Group, and is expected to connect with the Strike Group overnight. The USS Shiloh has started moving from Yokosuka to deliver relief supplies to the Strike Group. (PACOM, Mar 18)
After the USS Tortuga, an amphibious dock landing ship completed offloading 273 Japan GSDF, 93 vehicles and equipment in Ominato, (Thursday, March 17), the ship is now off the coast of Hachinohe serving as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations. (PACOM, Mar 19) CH-53 Sea Stallion aircraft from HM-14 attached to USS Tortuga delivered 13 tons of humanitarian aid cargo, including 5,000 pounds of water and 5,000 MREs to Yamada Station. (Reuters, AFPS, PACOM, Mar 15-18)
Meanwhile, the USS Blue Ridge, remains in the vicinity of Okinawa to conduct transfers of supplies and additional personnel to strengthen staff. (PACOM, Mar 18)
Due to the threat of “radiological and navigation hazards,” the Navy said some arriving warships, the USS Essex, a large amphibious assault ship carrying a 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the USS Harpers Ferry, a dock-landing ship and USS Germantown, an amphibious dock-landing ship, are now operating in the Sea of Japan. PACOM reported that the ships arrived off the coast of Akita prefecture Friday (Mar 18) afternoon. Marines of the 31st MEU established a Forward Control Element in Matsushima in order to coordinate disaster aid planning with officials already there. (Reuters, PACOM, Mar 15, 18) PACOM reports they will depart Akita on Sunday (Mar 20) and reposition in the vicinity Kamaishi-ko in northeast Japan. (PACOM, Mar 19) The USS Germantown received 85 pallets of food and fuel on Thursday (Mar 17) from various relief organizations. (AFPS, Mar 19)
The USNS Safeguard delivered on Wednesday (Mar 16) high –pressure water pumps to Yokota Air Base for transfer to the Japanese government for use at the Fukushima power plant, while four pumps were delivered from Sasebo. (AFPS, Mar 16)
Carrier Airwing Five completed the relocation of 14 rotary-wing aircraft, and about 500 sailors to Naval Air Facility Misawa in northern Honshu from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Kadena Air Base in southern Japan.(AFPS, PACOM, Mar 18-19) Also, two P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four conducted two aerial survey missions or ports and airfields in northern Honshu on Friday. (PACOM, Mar 18)
US Marine Corps (USMC)
Marines and sailors from III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) are supporting relief operations and its subordinate units are providing command and control, aviation and logistics support. III MEF is responsible for coordinating Marine Corps relief efforts with USFJ. Personnel with III MEF traveled from Yokota Air Base on Monday (Mar 14) to Sendai to develop and coordinate a humanitarian assistance center for Operation Tomodachi. (PACOM, Mar 18) Because of the proximity of aviation assets at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Marines from III MEF are quickly able to deploy critically needed supplies and aid to areas most in need. PACOM reported on Friday (Mar 19) that the USMC had made available, eight KC-130J cargo aircrafts, and eight CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters based out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to support Operation Tomodachi. Meanwhile, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade is located at Tokota Air Base with USFJ. Marines have connected with the Northeast Army of the Japan GSDF. To date, III MEF has flown 223 sorties in support of Operation Tomodachi. (PACOM, Mar 19)
Four Humanitarian Assistance Survey Teams (HAST) that the USMC deployed to Honshu continue to assess damaged areas and assist the GoJ with providing accurate information to disaster relief planners, both military and civilian. These teams are capable of distributing supplies and providing basic medical care for those in urgent need of aid. (PACOM, Mar 18) III MEF has facilitated the re-opening of an airfield in Sendai. (USAID, Mar 16)
There are 458 US Army Japan personnel supporting Operation Tomodachi. (PACOM, Mar 19) Commander of US Army Japan, Maj Gen Michael T. Harrison, Sr, held a series of town hall meetings to talk to local civilian employees, soldiers and dependents, and Department of the Army Civilians regarding the scope and impact of the voluntary departure plan. Meanwhile, the USARJ Disaster Assessment Team (DAT) remains integrated with the JTF (FWD) complimenting their operations. USARJ deployed 2 Foreign Area Officers and one Operations NCO to join USFJ forward in Sendai. The foreign area officers speak Japanese and will be able to provide invaluable assistance to the JTF in coordinating relief efforts. (PACOM, Mar 19) The USARJ Aviation Detachment self-deployed two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to Yamagata airfield to provide JTF (FWD) additional mobility to continue planning for a future Humanitarian Assistance supply Logistical Support Area. (PACOM, Mar 18)
US Air Force
The Air Force is supporting Operation Tomodachi with airlift, SAR and ISR. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) have generated 79 sorties and transported more than 503 short tons and 324 passengers. Delivered relief supplies include food, water, blankets, and generators using a variety of aircraft, such as C-130s, C-17s, KC-135s and C-12s. Currently the number of air force personnel deployed in support of relief efforts is 310, while the number of PACAF aircraft deployed for relief is 18. (PACOM, Mar 18)
On March 11, US Ambassador to Japan John V Roos declared a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami, which allowed US Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) to provide an initial US$100,000 through the US Embassy in Tokyo to assist with local relief efforts. USAID also activated a Washington DC based Response Management Team (RMT) to coordinate the USG humanitarian response to the tsunami. On Monday (Mar 14), the RMT participated in a teleconference organized by the US Chamber of Commerce that included representatives from the US Embassy in Tokyo, DoD, and the humanitarian community. (USAID, Mar 15). The DART and the RMT continue to link US private and public entities with USG assets to support GoJ emergency response efforts. In response to an official request from the GoJ, USAID/OFDA is sent 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits Friday (Mar 18) to Japan for use in recovery clean-up. At the request of the GoJ, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), including two urban search and rescue (USAR) teams from Fairfax County, Virginia and Los Angeles County, California, to help in the rescue effort, providing emergency and medical and water capabilities in Japan. The teams, consisting of 72 personnel and six rescue dogs each, arrived on March 13 at Misawa Airport and travelled to Ohunato in Iwate Prefecture to engage in SAR activities under the direction of the Tokyo Fire Department. (USAID, GoJ, Mar 11-13) The US USAR teams have worked with the UK and China USAR teams to establish a sub-OSOCC at their base of operations in Ofunato, which would facilitate coordination with the OSOCC to ensure a systematic international USAR effort. The teams hold operational readiness meetings with local authorities. (USAID, Mar 15) USAR teams completed search assignments in southern Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi City, Wednesday, but were unable to find any live victims. The US USAR team concluded their last search and rescue assignment on Thursday (Mar 17). According to officials from the Osaka Fire Department, coordinator of international USAR efforts on behalf of the GoJ in Ofunato and Kamaishi cities, no further assignments are forthcoming from the GoJ. US teams are now coordinating demobilization plans. They also transferred nearly US$145,000 in equipment, including zodiac boat kits, kerosene heaters, cots and sleeping bags, to the Ofunato fire department to assist with local efforts. (USAID, Mar18)
To assist the US Army Japan disaster assessment team with debris-removal efforts, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Japan District provided an administration system. USACE is developing a plan to clear debris from airfields significant to logistics and humanitarian missions, while assisting US Army Japan to deliver 50,000 water bottles to disaster survivors. (AFPS, Mar-16)
In response to the nuclear emergency, two US experts from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were deployed to Japan on Saturday. (OCHA, Mar 13) DoD reportedly contributed two pumper trucks to help Japanese authorities respond to the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (NRC, USAID, Mar 15) Concerned about potential radiation exposure those responding to the disaster, the US military announced it will not allow its troops within 80 km of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. (OCHA, Mar 17) Additionally, Lapan reported DoD suspending travel to the island of Honshu for all DoD dependent personnel. Authorization does not affect service members or US civilian employees.
On Tuesday (Mar 15), US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his department has formed a team of 34 people and sent 7,200 pounds of equipment to Japan to help monitor and assess the nuclear reactor situation. (Yahoo News, Mar 15) The US Department of Energy team started aerial surveillance missions to measure air contamination between Tokyo and Fukushima on Thursday (Mar 17). (USAID, Mar 17)
A nine-member expert planning team from US Northern Command (Northcom) was scheduled to arrive in Japan on Thursday (Mar 17). Technical advice will be provided by the team, who will report to the commander of USFJ and will work alongside the Japanese military to evaluate and assess whether more US assistance is needed. (AFPS, Mar 17) Meanwhile, commander of US PACOM, Adm Robert Willard, said Thursday (Mar 17) that the US military may deploy a 450 member unit trained in radiation management to help the country deal with growing nuclear crisis. (Japan Times, Mar 19)
Vietnam: Vietnam will provide US$200,000 in aid. The Vietnamese Red Cross will give an initial US$50,000 through the Japanese Red Cross, state-run news website VnExpress reported. (Reuters, Mar 14) In a statement made by Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son, the Government of Vietnam is offering to send medical staff to Japan. Japan is also working with Vietnamese agencies in Japan to protect Vietnamese residents. (GoV, Mar 15)
CREDIT: The Santos Republic thanks the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance for the cooperation as well as the steady efforts of the Government of Japan and the International Community at large. – Lady Michelle Jennifer del Rosario Santos, Founder/Publisher