News / Asia

Red Cross Launches Huge Tsunami Relief Effort

Japanese Red Cross Society worker feeds baby at relief center
Japanese Red Cross Society worker feeds baby at relief center
Lisa Schlein

The International Red Cross Federation says more than two million Japanese Red Cross volunteers are involved in a huge operation to assist millions of earthquake and tsunami survivors, in what is considered to be Japan’s worst disaster since World War II.  To date, more than 2,700 people are confirmed dead, more than 3,700 are missing and nearly half a million are homeless. 

According to IFRC, the Japanese Red Cross has deployed mobile clinics to towns to assist survivors who remain without electricity and have little water.  It has dispatched 115 National Disaster Response Teams and nearly 1,000 medical staff.

Counseling offered


Red Cross spokesman, Paul Conneally says more than 2,600 trained psycho-social nurses are on the ground in the affected areas.  He says they will be playing an increasingly important role in the coming weeks and months; helping tsunami survivors deal with the loss of their families, friends, livelihoods and possessions.

"Also, they have an incredible resource of two million volunteers, trained volunteers, covering all sorts of needs from helicopter pilots, to cooks, to first aid," Conneally said.  "So, they really are a national society which is extremely well-positioned to both assess the situation and respond to the situation as it unfolds, despite the major challenges."  

Relief effort

Right now, the Japanese Red Cross says it has the capacity to deal with the massive relief operation and it is not asking for international assistance.  However, it says it does welcome cash donations to help the recovery efforts.

Besides the devastating effects of the tsunami, Japan also has to deal with the consequences of the potentially harmful effects of radiation leaks from its tsunami-damaged nuclear facilities.

The JRC has nuclear decontamination teams throughout the country.  They are working closely with the government to prepare people for further medical treatment.

Priorities

But, Red Cross Under-Secretary General for Program Services, Matthias Schmale, says for now the Japanese Red Cross'  priorities are to deal with the needs of tsunami survivors and not with the effects of the nuclear accidents.

"What concerns us about the nuclear catastrophe is how it might affect the tsunami response operation," Schmale explained. "So we are not, as such, responding to the nuclear disaster because humanitarian needs around this are not clear at this stage.  What is very clear is the fate of the survivors of the tsunami and their loved ones.  And that is the priority."  

Immediate priorities include search and rescue, caring for the displaced, providing basic relief to the affected population, and psychological counseling.

The Red Cross says it is also extremely important to help the elderly.  They comprise about 30 percent of the population and are extremely vulnerable.  

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs