IRC aids relief efforts in Japan
Reunited family members hug each other in the debris after an 9.0 magnitude strong earthquake struck on March 11 off the coast of northeastern Japan (Photo: Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images)
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is supporting the relief efforts of Japanese aid groups providing lifesaving assistance to survivors of last week’s massive earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan.
“Our strategy is to give direct support to Japanese organizations that have immediate access to the affected areas and that have the appropriate capacity and experience,” said Michael Kocher, the IRC’s vice president, international programs.
Kocher said the IRC’s initial support is going to the aid organization Peace Winds Japan. The group has been providing shelter, water, sanitation, food and economic recovery assistance to victims of conflict and natural disasters since 1996. In response to the earthquake and tsunami, the organization has chartered helicopters and has been flying to the affected area with food, fuel, blankets, tents and other emergency supplies and will adapt their response as conditions evolve.
The IRC plans to designate funds for at least one other Japanese organization that will be focused on long-term recovery assistance as hundreds of thousands of people struggle to rebuild their lives.