Two years on, Red Cross brings positive change for thousands of survivors of Japan’s triple disaster


Two years on from the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, thousands of survivors have benefited from a variety of programmes carried out by the Japanese Red Cross which range from caring for the psychosocial needs of the elderly to the reconstruction of major hospitals.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Japanese Red Cross medical teams deployed from their network of hospitals across the country, treated nearly 90,000 people. Since then, much of the focus for the Red Cross has been on providing welfare services; this includes help for 135,000 displaced families resettled into temporary homes that were provided with a package of household electrical appliances.

Significant investment has also been made in re-building damaged health infrastructure and building temporary medical facilities. Five hospitals and medical centers have now been constructed with Red Cross support. Over 300 vehicles have been donated to support transportation needs in 200 social welfare institutions and nearly 1,000 special beds have been provided for care homes for the elderly.

“Thanks to the generous support both from the Japanese public and our friends abroad, a lot of progress has been made to restore and improve public services and facilities and help people to recover from this disaster”, says Tadateru Konoe, president of the Japanese Red Cross and the IFRC. “By early 2013, more than 75% of the funds we received had been spent or committed on specific programmes that benefit survivors of the disaster. But the task of rebuilding entire communities is immense and complex. More than 300,000 people are still living in temporary accommodation and the Red Cross has a clear role to play in supporting these communities in the months ahead”.

Japanese Red Cross staff and volunteers have been providing a variety of services which are helping to meet the psychosocial needs of survivors in the worst affected prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima. These include social activities and physical exercise sessions for the elderly as well as recreational activities designed for children such as summer camps organised for thousands of school children from disaster stricken areas.

In Fukushima, Red Cross nurses are also providing health monitoring and psychological support to displaced families in some of the areas close to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Red Cross has been active in monitoring the potential health impacts of the radiation. More than 100 scanners have been donated to check the levels of radioactivity in food and water and from next year the Red Cross will be involved in screening youngsters under 18 years of age for thyroid abnormalities.

For further information and to set up interviews contact:
Japanese Red Cross Society in Tokyo