By Shweta Dandekar:
On 11th March, 2011 millions across the globe sat watching the most astounding and horrific visuals seen in years. As Sendai, Japan was on the verge of getting engulfed by over 30 feet waves, we could only sit in front of our television screens wondering how the country would get back from their second major disaster. As the hours passed by, the situation in Japan only became bad to worse with massive aftershocks of the earthquake causing more destruction to nuclear plants and human settlements. With the death toll over 5,300 and 9,300 reported missing, there is little we can do to help victims of this natural calamity directly.
This disaster required immediate on-field action to be taken. Rescue teams from various organizations started their operations in various parts of north-east Japan. However, their efforts have gone unnoticed by people outside the country. Some of the major organizations to come forward in the time of need are Second Harvest Japan, Save the Children, Japanese Red Cross, Mercy Corps and Global Giving among others. This is our attempt to showcase their work and support them by way of creating awareness about them.
Second Harvest Japan (2HJ — Japan’s Foodbanking Network) is playing a very important role in Sendai. 2HJ set up a relief office in Sendai where logistics network of donated items are being established for agencies and evacuation sites in Miyagi. The organization also collects information about food and other necessities required by the victims. After establishing safe and secure routes to carry out their operations, 2HJ sends out two large size 4-ton trucks with relief to Sendai every alternate day. With donations of food and other supplies being made, this organization is making sure that even the remotest of areas receive the basic necessities for survival. For those who wish to contribute to this organization’s work, please visit http://www.2hj.org/index.php/news/send_us_food_and_supplies/.
Ten minutes after the earthquake struck, the Japanese Red Cross called its disaster management task force to headquarters. From there 62 response teams were created to carry out assessments and to provide first aid and health care to the affected. Also, the Red Cross hospital is proving to be very important for anyone within 100 km radius. Their hard work continues and they have also started providing three days worth of rations of food and water to people living in evacuation camps. To donate to the Japanese Red Cross, you may visit: http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/responding/ongoing-operations/japan-earthquake/about-the-donations-to-japan/.
Save the Children, as the name suggests aims at helping children in need. A few days back, the organization has entered the disaster areas in Sendai to assess the situation and rescue as many children as possible. Children are the most vulnerable in disasters like these and people working in the organization are committed towards reuniting them with their families.
Mercy Corps in partnership with Peace Winds is helping survivors of the earthquake by providing emergency supplies, such as, blankets, tents, rice, fresh produce, etc. The organization has also elected an emergency team leader to help Peace Winds with its rescue operations. To donate towards this cause, you can visit https://www.mercycorps.org/donate/japan or http://peacewindsamerica.org/support/.
Organizations like Doctors without Borders and International Medical Corps deployed teams which comprised of medical and logistical staff. Currently, these organizations are working in the Sendai evacuation centre where free medical consultations are being provided to the victims. Due to their efforts, the medical situation in Sendai appears to be in control. To help them work towards this cause better, you may donate money at https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=240&source=ADR1001E1D01 or https://www.internationalmedicalcorps.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=1967.