Sunday 13 March, 2011
A World Vision Japan assessment team is heading to the earthquake-affected area of Sendai in north-east Japan. Staff will assess the needs in affected areas and prepare supplies and programs to serve those left homeless by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
The assessment team, departing from Tokyo, includes veteran aid worker Kenjiro Ban, who was part of World Vision's earthquake response in Haiti. One concern is how quickly the team will be able to access hard hit areas, given debris and transportation blockages that may hinder efficient travel.
Once needs are identified, relief supplies can be distributed. Establishment of Child Friendly Spaces is a possibility, in order to address children’s psycho-social needs.
“Children in Japan are keenly feeling the fear and insecurity that often set in following natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami,” said Kenjiro Ban.
“We’re planning to see how deep the needs are in the affected areas and begin to bring relief to families. We've seen in Haiti, Chile, and other recent disasters that Child-Friendly Spaces can be a key way to address the unique needs of children who survived but are deeply affected by the experience.”
The death toll is expected to be in the thousands, with at least 1,800 people confirmed dead. Some 10,000 people are missing in the city of Sendai, the hardest hit area. Tens of thousands of Japanese national defence personnel have been deployed to assist.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Mr Naoto Kan has declared a State of Emergency and a nuclear emergency has been declared in Fukushima in the north-east.
More than 200,000 people have been evacuated near two nuclear plants in Fukushima and exclusion zones have been established, following an explosion at one nuclear plant.
The earthquake was reported as the most powerful on record in Japan. The ‘Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923’ killed 143,000 people and the Kobe Earthquake of 1995 killed 6,400 people.
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