Japan: ADRA Continues Response in Tsunami Affected Region
SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to respond to the devastating tsunami that was triggered by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Japan on Friday, March 11.
Assessment teams reached the severely affected city of Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture within 24 hours after a 30-foot (7-meter) tsunami wave crashed through the city, destroying entire communities and claiming the lives of more than 1,600 people with more than 10,000 people still missing.
“The damage is so devastating, I have no words left to utter,” said Atsushi Suhara, Program Officer for ADRA Japan after flying over Natori city to assess the level of the damage.
Working together with local authorities, ADRA Japan provided hot meals in an evacuation center in the Miyagino Ward of Sendai City where approximately 300 displaced people are living and 1,300 spend the night.
“On Friday when the earthquake occurred, we came to the evacuation center,” commented a young girl at the evacuation center. “I was so happy to have [traditional Japanese] miso soup today because it was the first hot meal we had since the earthquake.”
ADRA Japan continues coordinating with the Japanese Department of Social Services (DSS) and anticipates involvement in managing and coordinating evacuation centers in the affected area. ADRA is preparing to accommodate 1,000 evacuees, coordinating the procurement of food, non-food items and equipment, and transportation.
The Japanese DSS has requested a pause in immediate food distribution until the mechanism for coordination can be established to prevent duplication and the marginalization of smaller communities.
“Getting precise information and the holistic picture of the damages on the ground still remains a challenge,” said Hideo Wantanabe, Program Officer for ADRA Japan, after his initial assessment in city of Sendai. “However, we are gradually getting clearer pictures of what kind of support and assistance are needed by the people affected.”
The humanitarian situation continues to be exacerbated by reports of hundreds of large aftershocks, the onset of subzero temperatures in the heavily affected region of Sendai, and the fear of nuclear fallout from damaged nuclear power plants.
Updates will be released as response efforts expand.