IRC to support Japanese relief efforts
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 assisting survivors of Friday’s powerful earthquake and tsunami in ravaged northeastern Japan.
A massive emergency response operation is underway in coastal areas around the city of Sendai, although rescue efforts and aid deliveries have been hampered by significant aftershocks. Many communities still being inundated by tsunamis remain inaccessible.
The rescue effort is being led by the Japanese government and local aid groups with extensive disaster response experience, along with specialized support from 15 countries.
“Our emergency team members are on standby to respond and fill in gaps as needed,” says Gillian Dunn, the IRC’s director of emergency response programs. “In the meantime, we are starting direct assistance to Japanese aid groups with better access to communities in need and survivors who have been evacuated.”
An estimated 380,000 people have been rescued from quake and tsunami affected areas. As a precaution, authorities have also evacuated tens of thousands of people living within 20 kilometers of several quake-damaged nuclear power plants. The main humanitarian needs for evacuees include blankets, drinking water, food and sanitation facilities.
Melissa Winkler, firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 646 734 0305