ADRA continues response in Japan

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The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues its response following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

Through ongoing coordination efforts with local governmental authorities, ADRA has been appointed to support an evacuation centre in Wakabayashi ward located in Sendai City of the Miyagi prefecture. This centre is currently housing approximately 1,300 displaced persons of which 350 are receiving 24-hour care. ADRA immediately dispatched essential food and non-food items including miso (a traditional Japanese soup), blankets, fuel and cooking gas, which arrived at the evacuation centre in Sendai in the early morning hours on Thursday.

My house is flooded under about 1.6 metres (5 feet) of debris. I am not sure where to begin cleaning, but I’ve started little by little

During the daylight hours, many of the evacuees return to where their homes used to be to begin the long process of cleaning up and rebuilding.

“My house is flooded under about 1.6 metres (5 feet) of debris. I am not sure where to begin cleaning, but I’ve started little by little,” commented a woman at the centre.

“Thousands of families are returning to find homes washed away or destroyed,” says Chris Olafson, ADRA Australia’s Emergency Management Director. “ADRA Japan is pulling together a plan of action, along with the Japanese government and other local authorities, to assist these families. Details of this response will come to light in the coming days.”

Nearly one week has passed since the quake and resulting tsunami devastated the northern prefecture of Miyagi. The National Police are now estimating more than 20,000 people are either dead or missing. The cold weather, scarcity of food and drinkable water, and the ever-present fear of nuclear fallout and radiation threat weigh heavily on the minds of survivors making everyday survival that much more challenging.

In the past 12 months ADRA Australia has responded to numerous international disasters including the Christchurch and Haitian Earthquakes and Pakistan floods, along with national emergencies including the Queensland flood and cyclone disasters and the Western Australian bushfires. When disasters strike, ADRA Australia works in collaboration with ADRA offices around the world, Australian humanitarian agencies and with AusAID, the Australian Government’s aid program, to ensure the best possible, coordinated support is provided to the communities affected.

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