Friday, 2 March 2012

Responses to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

By Kelly Walter

When: Friday 11th March 2011

Magnitude: 9.0

Where: The earthquake occurred 250 miles off the North East Coast of Japan's main island Honshu.

The Response:

116 countries and 28 organisations offered assistance to Japan. Even Afghanistan with a very low GDP donated $50000 to the disaster. Indonesia, which was the worst hit country in the 2004 tsunami, sent rescue workers, medical assistance and supplies. Indonesia's Government also donated US$2 million. Taiwan provided over US$243 million, the highest amount in the world, in aid from the government and public combined. Taiwan also hosted a fundraising concert that raised $26 million for the disaster. Thailand also alone donated approximately $6.6million as well food and other necessities. The UK sent 70 rescuers to Japan, including two search dogs, a medical support team and 11 metric tons of specialized rescue equipment. Many NGO’s also got involved providing aid for the disaster.

"Japan is not Haiti and it's not Indonesia, it's a developed country with a GDP somewhat similar to our country. It's not what people typically think of as a country in need of wide-scale international aid," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Immediate Responses:
· In freezing temperatures survivors huddled together in shelters and hoarded supplies as rescue workers searched the coastline to search for any survivors in the rubble.

· Helicopter crews looked for survivors on rooftops and flooded farmland.

· 100000 soldiers assigned to establish order, organise rescue work, and distribute blankets, bottled water, food, and petrol.

· Offers of aid poured in from other countries, including China and the USA.

· An exclusion zone was set up around the Fukushima nuclear plant. Homes were evacuated and iodine tablets, to prevent radiation sickness, were distributed.

· There were no reports of looting or violence.

Long-Term Responses:

· Japan coped well with the earthquake. But the tsunami defences were inadequate against the extreme height and force of the water. Future planning and important decisions will have to be made to reduce the risk of this scale of devastation happening in the future. (Move settlements further inland, avoid building in this area, improved defence systems to reduce the effect of a future disaster.)

· Grievance from deaths of family members and friends, and many people who have lived there for generations have had to leave their homeland behind. The aid has helped people financially to receive basic necessities, in times of suffering.

· Japan will have a big price to pay for the disaster. The country was already the most heavily indebted in the industrialized world and the repair bill will have to be raised by more government borrowing. Private companies also faced heavy costs. Japan is an economically developed, rich country so will find it easier to recover than many less economically developed countries, such as Haiti.

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