The Humanitarian relief given to victims of the two Japanese Earthquakes



Image of displaced citizens

On April 14 & 16 of 2016 two earthquakes of 6.5 and 7.3 magnitude struck respectively  the area of Kumamoto in Japan within 28 hours of each other. The first at 21:26 (GMT+9) local time struck with a depth of 10km that resulted in 9 deaths and over 800 injured civilians. The second proved much more fatal with 42 reported deaths and over 1,000 people injured. The Guardian reported 44,000 people were displaced in the city of Mashiki alone, other reports from ReliefWeb a few days after, totaled the number of displaced people in the effected to 112,000 spread out across 720 temporary evacuation centers such as Schools. On the 18th the AFP reported 400,000 people had no running water. Following this catastrophe the Japanese Red Cross Federation began to coordinate the humanitarian response with the collaboration of the local authorities, all of this supervised by the government.

The Red Cross has dispatched a total of 23 emergency medical teams who work relentlessly in eight hours shifts. An emergency response unit has also been deployed to reach the isolated areas due to the damage to roads which make it difficult to give aid. This includes helicopter drops for areas where on-road vehicles cannot access. The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) has been involved in relief-aid many times before in Japan and their experience in dealing with situations like this came to use when they used a local school to set up their emergency operations center.

The International Medical Corps, deployed an emergency team to provide temporary help to the area, created evacuation centers to evacuated the population and worked with local partners to deliver critical humanitarian services.

Other associations who helped with this catastrophe are: Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, which main focus is “to improve the lives of people who are desperately in need”. GlobalGiving’s Kumamoto Relief Fund, GlobalGiving raise funds to help rebuild after natural disasters. Peace Winds America, specialized in fast response in the Asia-Pacific region. Save the children, who help in any way possible.

Before the second earthquake a great number of people decide to sleep in the streets or seek refuge in evacuation centers for shelter due to fear of another major earthquake and be trap in their houses.

The prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, appear soon after the earthquake to confirm that the nuclear plant of Sendai didn’t suffer any damage, this plant was the first reactor active after the Fukushima disaster.

“The strong response from the Government of Japan is to be commended, and our team has witnessed the incredible strength and resilience of the Japanese people in the face of these earthquakes,” said Chris Skopec, Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness at International Medical Corps. “International Medical Corps is deploying additional emergency response personnel to Kumamoto as well as recruiting local staff to scale up our efforts. As we learn the extent of the damage, we will work to support the government of Japan and our local partners as needed during the relief and recovery efforts.”


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