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WASHINGTON, Updated Tuesday, March 29, 2011 — The American Red Cross announced Tuesday that the public has generously donated $120.5 million to help the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. …The money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, specifically the Japanese Red Cross, which is providing direct emergency relief, medical services and emotional counseling to affected communities. The American Red Cross committed an initial $10 million in the early days after the disaster and will provide the Japanese Red Cross with another $50 million in the next few days. The remainder of the funds will be made available as they come in.
In addition to the funds provided to support work by the Japanese Red Cross, the American Red Cross has given $500,000 to the United Nation’s World Food Programme for logistics support for the delivery and storage of relief items for survivors.
The American Red Cross expects these funds will be used to fund immediate relief activities such as providing supplies and medical care. Over time, it is likely that some of the contributions will be used for longer-term recovery. The American Red Cross has been in close contact with its partners in the Asia Pacific region since the earthquake to offer its support.
Overall, the conditions for survivors appear to be improving: the number of people in shelters in Japan has dropped to 244,000 from what had been the high of nearly half a million. More supplies and fuel are also reaching affected areas. However, the needs are still overwhelming and uncertainty around several Japanese nuclear reactors and associated health risks remains a major concern.
The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan. Over the past week, American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff stationed at military installations in the Far East assisted with the voluntary departures of military families from Japan. The Red Cross helped register departees, escorted people and assisted in military sheltering operations. American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff also provided a range of support including: canteen services; registering passengers; helping people find out where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft. Once the families reached the U.S., Red Cross staff was also on hand to provide families food, snacks and comfort items.
Updated Tuesday, March 15, 2011 — The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”
In the coming weeks, the American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid Japan’s relief and recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward.
Monday, March 14, 2011 — A disaster expert from the American Red Cross arrived today in Toyko to serve on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Within days, she will conduct assessments from some of the hardest hit areas in the north.
Since early Friday , the American Red Cross has been in close contact with its colleagues in the region to offer our support. The Japanese Red Cross indicated that it would accept financial support from the American Red Cross for its role providing first aid, emotional support and relief items to those displaced.
Authorities estimate at least 370,000 people have been evacuated or displaced—many of which have evacuated to the 2,000 shelters operated by the government and supported by the Japanese Red Cross. Local Red Cross volunteers in Japan have handed out more than 46,000 blankets so far, and nearly 28,000 more have been sent to the affected area for further distribution.
The Japanese Red Cross … has deployed 95 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses.
In the small town of Ishinomaki on Japan’s northeast coast, the Red Cross hospital has been like a magnet, drawing people in from miles around, many of whom simply find comfort in being able to sleep in a warm corridor with strangers. With all other local hospitals flooded or damaged, this hospital is a beacon of hope for thousands of local people whose lives have been shattered by the tsunami that slammed into the Japanese coastline.
Most of the injured are brought by civil defense helicopters and buses, while others manage to limp in or are carried through the doors. The trauma is evident on the pale faces of many who have seen loved ones swept to their death.
All along this coastline, people continue to emerge from the debris. Some have been marooned in their homes, surrounded by the lakes of seawater left behind as the tsunami retreated… In some areas, the tsunami destroyed everything in its path—the teams no longer venture northeast of the town as they know there were no survivors.
…In one area, local residents are now too afraid to stay in their homes at night because of the frequent aftershocks and the fear of a repeat tsunami. Instead, they sleep in their cars on the second story of a car park.
Based on this trauma, the Japanese Red Cross is also offering psychosocial support to the survivors. The Japanese Red Cross has 2,369 nurses trained nationwide to give emotional comfort following major emergencies.
We need your Help!
Those who want to help can go to http://www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to support our disaster relief efforts in Japan and tsunamithroughout the Pacific.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Japanese Red Cross is assessing the full impact of the earthquake and tsunami and has deployed 11 National Disaster Response Teams to conduct assessments, provide healthcare and first aid and plan for relief supplies distribution. The Japanese Red Cross has not made any request for international assistance at this moment.
A high human toll is anticipated in Japan and the number of dead and missing is rising as the impact of the damage becomes apparent. Initial indications that the worst affected areas are in northeast Japan in Tohuku Region close the epicenter and tsunami impact areas. The Japanese government has mobilized an emergency response, deploying 900 rescue workers to this area.
What we are doing
The American Red Cross is currently in discussions with the Japanese Red Cross to assess their needs and see how we can help. The Japanese Red Cross has extraordinary disaster response capabilities. They have been operating since 1887, and they run multiple hospitals and blood collection services across the region.
Eleven Japanese response teams are currently assessing damage and supplying first aid in the affected region. In addition, the Japanese government has mobilized an emergency response, deploying 900 rescue workers to this area while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has offered to assist Japan with restoring family links.
The American Red Cross has a warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, fully stocked with pre-positioned relief supplies for 5,000 families, and it has disaster specialists on stand by. These supplies can be used for people in U.S. territories or other Pacific nations.
Map of affected areas
Friday, March 11, 2011 – Japan – A series of major earthquakes struck off the coast of Japan at around 2:46 pm JST on March 11. One of the earthquakes measured 8.9 in magnitude. Tsunami warnings, watches, and advisories are in effect in multiple locations.
At this time the Red Cross in unable to accept inquiries to contact or locate family and friends in Japan. However, there are several resources available as follows.
Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225
For inquiries about relatives living in Japan who are not US citizens, encourage the members of your community to keep calling or to try contacting other family members who live in the region. Even though communication networks overloaded right now, the situation may change and access to mobile networks and the internet may improve.
The Google Person Finder site is available at: http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en