A severe earthquake struck the north-east coast of Japan on 11 March, causing a major tsunami and serious damage across northern Japan.
The looming threat of nuclear catastrophe has compounded the suffering in a country already reeling from a deadly earthquake and tsunami. It is a testament to Japan’s own capacity that a full-scale Oxfam emergency response has so far not been requested. But Oxfam Japan channels assistance to several local organizations providing help to vulnerable populations that might otherwise have difficulty accessing aid.
A massive relief operation is now underway involving the government, the army and civil society. Oxfam Japan is raising money for several local organizations active in the disaster areas.
“The Japanese state has the means to reach 99% of the population but there will always be some who need more specific assistance,” said Oxfam Japan Executive Director, Akiko Mera, from Tokyo.
Oxfam Japan is channeling funds to several local partners to provide help to vulnerable groups:
- The Japan Organization for International Cooperation on Family Planning (JOICFP), together with the Japanese Midwives’ Association and local doctors, is delivering various goods and services to mothers, infants and women in general.
- The multi-language center FACIL is helping non-Japanese speaking nationals and immigrant communities living in affected areas, ensuring that they too have access to relief supplies. There are an estimated 40,000 non-Japanese speakers in affected areas.
- The Japan Women’s Shelter network is setting up a 24-hour service to support women affected by this disaster who are victims of sexual or domestic violence and women, in general.
- The Single Mother’s Forum will set up a hotline and conduct peer counseling to single women at evacuations center and affected areas
- Child Support will focus on supporting children and single parents.
- The Relief Headquarter for Persons with Disabilities will provide counseling and support.
Oxfam has been ready to assist further but is not launching a major humanitarian response at this time. We usually focus our resources on communities where governments have been unable – or, in some cases, unwilling - to provide for their people. But the Japanese government has a tremendous capacity for responding in crises, and a clear commitment to using its resources to the fullest.
Donate directly to Oxfam Japan (in Japanese yen)
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Update: 17 June 2011