Support Needed for Grassroots Emergency Relief Operations in Northeastern Japan
TIES Members in Japan, united and determined to help
Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake and Tsunami
It may be true that Japan was as prepared as any country could have been for a disaster of this magnitude. It may be true that the Japanese people have managed to respond to the crisis in an orderly and “stoic” manner. The fact remains, however, a large area of the country has been devastated. Towns wiped out. People’s livelihoods destroyed. The March 11 earthquake that hit the Northeast regions of Japan was not only the largest in the country’s recorded history, but it also resulted in damage spread throughout the Northeastern coast, including many rural communities now semi-isolated due to limited road access and a severe lack of relief supplies across the region.
In many parts of the country, people are still dealing with aftershocks, some larger than the size of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Despite the official death toll (currently estimated to be around 3,500-4,000), the number is expected to climb to over 10,000. Tens of thousands of evacuees have spent the last five days in the 2,000+ officially designated emergency shelters. Hundreds of thousands more people have been made homeless and are living in unconfirmed number of temporary shelters and camps, often without basic necessities.
Japan Ecolodge Association: Disaster Relief Fund
On March 11th, shortly after the first earthquake, Japan Ecolodge Association, in collaboration with local experts, mobilized a relief team to collect and deliver basic necessities to the victims of what is now being called the Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake and Tsunami. The Association has set up Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund and is accepting donations both online and via wire transfer.
“Japan’s Eastern Pacific Coast and other regions affected by the earthquake and tsunami are in dire need of your generosity. Right now, many in the affected area are struggling to survive the extreme cold without shelter or food. We need your support now.” – Mr. Masaru Takayama, Japan Ecolodge Association’s Executive Director and Vice Chair of TIES Board of Directors.
Mr. Masaru Takayama is a native of Awaji, Japan, and a survivor of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake (Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake). He and his colleagues will personally purchase relief packages with donations collected through the Fund, and deliver the packages to Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture) on Friday, March 19th. This first trip will focus on ensuring the emergency supplies will get to evacuees in the Sendai area. The Association plans another delivery, rescue and relief trip in April.
People Are Determined to Stay United and Strong
A well-known singer who is from Hokkaido, Japan, had this to say to his fellow countrymen during a radio interview on Tuesday: “If you have knowledge, share your knowledge. If you have strength, share your strength. If you have money, donate. If you can’t give anything, stay strong, for the future of our country.”
Despite the current crisis, the people of Japan are committed to staying strong, supporting each other and doing everything needed, with everyone playing their part no matter how small or large, to help the affected regions get back on their feet. The grassroots networks of local tour operators, lodges, outdoor shops, nature schools and NGOs are among the most efficient ways to support the earthquake and tsunami victims now, and if there’s anyone in Japan who can bring these groups together and organize effective on-the-ground relief rescue, it’s out long-time member and friend Masaru.
What YOU Can Do to Help: DONATE
As we all know, recovery will be a long journey. It will be years before local economies in hardest hit areas – Aomori, Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima – will once again flourish and prosper, but when they do, “however long it may take, we will be there,” vowed the members of Japan Ecotourism network. “We’ll be there for the victims now, and we will be there for them along the way as those in the affected regions work together to rebuild their communities.”
Right now, the best way those in and outside Japan wanting to help the quake and tsunami victims can contribute is to donate money to credible rescue and relief efforts. Donate now to support organizations and projects that will reach people in need, donate in the coming weeks and months to continue supporting long-term recovery efforts.
Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund
Donate to the Fund via Paypal
Please follow the above link, enter your name in the field “I hereby agree to donate”, click on “Add to Cart”, and you’ll be redirected to the payment page. Once there, you can click on the small link at the top right corner of the page to select English.
Join Facebook Group and Spread the Word
The more people know about this effort, the more chance we have of reaching those in need. Please invite your friends and share the link through our websites, blogs and newsletters.
For additional instructions on how to donate, see PAYMENT INSTRUCTION for Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund (PDF) or contact TIES (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
The first delivery of relief supplies will take place this Friday, March 18th. All donations collected through the Fund this week will directly go to purchase necessary goods for this first trip, and will make a tremendous difference for the lives of evacuees.