JAPAN One year after the tsunami from relief to recovery

CARE provides vital aid and hope for the road ahead, reached a total of 37,658 people

Tokyo (March 9, 2012): One year after the enormous earthquake and tsunami that resulted in massive destruction in the North of Japan, CARE continues to provide support for communities recovering from the disaster. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck near the northeast coast of Honshu and triggered devastating tsunami waves that caused extensive and severe damage. 15,852 people were found dead and 3,469 remain missing. 128,704 buildings were completely destroyed. An area of 451 km2 was flooded by the tsunami. “If we hadn’t responded to a disaster with this scale, CARE’s reputation as a humanitarian aid organization would have been damaged,” said Katsuhiko Takeda, National Director of CARE Japan.

The news of the mega disaster caused an international momentum for a humanitarian action unprecedented for a developed country. Within one week of the disaster, CARE Japan reached the affected area with non-food item support. Soon, a feeding program began for 600 evacuees.

The needs following the tsunami were desperate, and the Japanese Government was not able to cope with the situation immediately after the disaster. Communities affected by the tsunami and local government officials confirm that the government was overwhelmed by the situation to fulfill all needs, and that CARE added value through an appropriate and quick response. Mr. Takenori Noda, mayor of Kamaishi city, was very “grateful” for CARE’s support, asking for continuous support for the city’s recovery.

Further emergency relief items were distributed to up to 18,000 households. A psychosocial program has been implemented in partnership with the Social Welfare Association. This includes a community café and social activities for affected populations. CARE has also supported festivals, traditional art performing groups and community newsletters, which are distributed in the evacuation centers and the temporary housing compounds. CARE provides support to the recovery of small businesses, and will intensify its efforts towards June 2012, to support the recovery of fisheries. In total, CARE has secured approximately 5 million USD for the relief and recovery operations and so far reached a total of 37,658 people.

Media contacts:

Melanie Brooks (in Niger): brooks@careinternational.org, +41 79 590 3047
Sandra Bulling (in Geneva): bulling@careinternational.org, +41 79 205 6951

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve education, health and economic opportunity.