Saturday 12 March, 2011
World Vision continues to monitor countries across the Asia and the Pacific region for any tsunami impact following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, which occurred near Japan’s east coast yesterday, 2:45 pm local time.
A response in Japan will also be considered once the full picture of damage and immediate needs on the ground are better established. Regional disaster management staff are on stand-by to support any efforts and relief supplies have been pre-positioned.
The death toll is expected to reach 1,000, with 300 bodies found in Sendai, north-east Japan, and 500 people reported missing. Some 8,000 Japanese national defence personnel have been deployed to Sendai.
The earthquake was reported as the most powerful on record in Japan. 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.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued tsunami warnings for more than 50 locations, some as far away as the western coasts of Chile and Peru following the massive earthquake. The first waves hit Wewak in Papua New Guinea late last night, with the biggest waves at 2 metres, travelling about 25 metres inland. No fatalities reported so far but some houses and shops were damages.
“Our deepest condolences go to communities who have been devastated by the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunamis. Our emergency staff are on standby in the region and around the globe and relief supplies are pre-positioned ready to go. We will have a clearer picture of the needs, and how we can assist today,” said World Vision Australia Humanitarian Emergency Affairs manager, Anthea Spinks.
World Vision staff in Japan are safe and staff in Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Island offices are on standby and were liaising with local communities as part of disaster preparedness plans. World Vision Staff in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have each pre-positioned supplies for 2,000 people should any impact arise. Offices will continue to maintain a state of alert despite the initial danger period for tsunami-impact having passed.
Local preparedness efforts and World Vision's coordination with authorities and communities ensured that actions were swift as news of the earthquake and possible wide tsunami was raised.
“In the coastal town of Palanan, where World Vision has an ongoing relief operation, World Vision staff were the first to notify the local government of the impending tsunami. Local government officials then identified evacuation sites for community members,” said communications staff Jay Mijares, based in the Philippines.
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