Building Resilience in Japan

Dec 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

2012 is almost here and we would like to take a moment to thank you for supporting our emergency response efforts in Japan.

This year with the help of our amazing supporters, we were able to respond to the emergency in Japan, as well as crises in Libya and East Africa, while continuing our long-term recovery programs worldwide. You can see for yourself --click on the video below and hear firsthand from our staff on the frontlines, working in some of the most unstable and dangerous regions of the world.

And as we look to the future, we hope we can count on your support again.

Your generosity was crucial during our initial emergency response and it’s just as important now, as we work to help these devastated communities rebuild and recover. Please considering making a donation or using your new GlobalGiving gift card to help our rebuilding efforts.

Your donation will help us start 2012 strong!

On behalf of all of at International Medical Corps, thank you for your support.


Oct 17, 2011

24 Hours to Have Your Gift Matched!

GlobalGiving has announced an amazing opportunity and we need your help to make it happen! 

Starting at October 19, 12:01 am EDT, GlobalGiving will match 30% of all online donations up to $1,000 per donor until the end of the day or when funds run out.  In addition, GlobalGiving is offering a $1,000 bonus to the project that raises the most that day and a $1,000 bonus to the project that receives donations from the most individual donors. 

Think about it: your gift of $30 becomes $40… $100 becomes $130…. $300 becomes $400…

But funds will run out quickly and we need you to act fast on October 19 to take advantage of this match before it’s too late. 

With your support for Emergency Aid to Tsunami & Earthquake Survivors, International Medical Corps has:

  • In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, provided support to the Japanese community by distributing hot foods, cleaning equipment, medications, and rental cars and computers to local NGOs.
  • Strengthened Japan’s mental health response capabilities through workshops and conferences on coping strategies for employees, students, teachers, and parents.

In the past, your support has meant so much to countless men, women, and children in need.  Now, you can give knowing that your donation will go 30% further and that 92 cents of every dollar you give goes to program-related activities.

Please – act soon and your donation could save lives. 

Thank you.  We know we can count on your support.


Aug 4, 2011

Update from Japan: 3 Months Later

Psychological First Aid Training.
Psychological First Aid Training.

Three months ago, a 9.0-earthquake - the fourth largest globally since 1900 - struck off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami that buried coastal villages in a wall of water. An estimated 23,000 people lost their lives and while the waters have long receded, the devastation and loss is still paralyzing.

Northeastern Tohoku, once a hub for fishing and farming, is now muddy wasteland covered in 25 million tons of rubble. More than 90,000 evacuees remain homeless, living in some hundreds of crowded shelters without jobs or a promise to return home.

International Medical Corps was on the ground just 48 hours after the tsunami struck. From the moment we first arrived in Japan, International Medical Corps has been working to support the Japanese government, local non-profit organizations, and people to recover and rebuild from what is considered the worst natural disaster in Japan’s history.

In its assessments of earthquake-affected areas, International Medical Corps found mental health to be a profound and much-needed gap in the humanitarian effort. A global leader in emergency mental health response, International Medical Corps is working to build the capacity of local organizations and first-responders to identify and fulfill the mental health needs of survivors.

As part of these efforts, we have partnered with Tokyo English Life Line (TELL), a telephone counseling service, and are training their counselors in psychological first aid and other techniques that are crucial in supporting disaster survivors. Because of these trainings, 80 TELL staff are now well-versed in psychological first aid, in addition to 93 other responders and frontline workers from other institutions in Japan.

Together with TELL, International Medical Corps also held eight workshops for 301 parents and teachers on how to create a supportive environment for children - as well as nine workshops for 150 staff from different companies on coping skills for management and employees. International Medical Corps also distributed more than 400 handouts on positive coping strategies to people in the affected areas and organized a two-day mental health and psychosocial conference that drew 100 students, teachers, and professionals from across the country.

In addition to building Japan’s mental health response capabilities, International Medical Corps also provided the following support in partnership with local Japanese organizations, thanks to your help:

  • We delivered hot meals to more than 21,000 internally displaced people currently living in five of the evacuations centers.
  • We are working with the local organization, Peace Boat, to provide hot meals, non-food items, and cleaning supplies to affected homes and communities.
  • We provided 17 computers and data cards and 8 satellite phones to improve coordination among Miyagi Prefecture offices, regional coordination centers, and evacuation centers.
  • We supplied medications and assisted in distributing baby food to more than 20,000 people.
  • We provided washing machines, water tanks, laundry detergent, hangers, plates, and chopsticks to Ogatsu-machi, a small fishing village that was totally isolated after the tsunami.
  • We are providing rental cars and computers to the local Japanese NGO, SHARE, so that they can deliver health services in people’s homes.

We are committed to helping communities heal and rebuild after this tragedy.  From our team in Japan and the families we’ve been able to help, thank you so much for your generous support.


Apr 6, 2011

In Tsunami-Ravaged Town, a Gift of Hope

John Ferguson in Ogatsu-machi.
John Ferguson in Ogatsu-machi.

Every job has ups and downs, but today topped all other “up” days.

Japan’s Prefectural Office of Disaster Assistance asked International Medical Corps to assess an area called Ogatsu-machi. A small fishing and oyster town of roughly 4,700 people, Ogatsu was extremely difficult to access after the tsunami, as most of the roads and bridges leading to it were washed away. To get there, our team came by road through the mountains to the west, a route that just recently became possible thanks to recent road repair.

When we arrived, we found that the village had virtually nothing. 

Roughly 75 percent of the town had been completely destroyed by the tsunami; 1,300 people are living in 16 evacuation sites, some of which house as many as 600 people. Electricity is available only at sites that have generators, and cell phone service is still out.  On top of this, 50 percent of Ogotsu’s population is older than 60, creating a need for consistent medical care and management of chronic illnesses.

Despite the town’s isolation, they were receiving medical services, thanks to the work of local humanitarian organizations and volunteer doctor groups - and had food, clothing, and, blankets. What they needed, they said, was a washing machine, plates, and new chopsticks (they had been using the same ones for going on 10 days which was unsanitary).

The next day, we woke up determined to get what they needed. We bought two washing machines, two water tanks, laundry detergent, hangers, plates, and chopsticks and hit the road back to Ogotsu, where we were directed to one of the 16 evacuation centers.

When we got there, people poured out to see us. A group of ladies soon surrounded me and asked me all kinds of questions. I told them I was from American and came to help.  Then one of the ladies said she had lost her daughter to the tsunami. Another woman said she had lost her house and her cat.

Despite their tragic losses, the women were all smiles and giggles. One of the women reminded me that laughter was the best medicine of all, not just for them, but for everyone involved, including me.

I wanted to share this story because I want those who supported our emergency relief efforts in Japan to know that, because of their support, we were not only able to provide the people of Ogatsu with what they needed, but were also able to give them something priceless - hope. They know now that the world cares and is trying to help.

And there is no better gift than that.

Mar 25, 2011

Update from Emergency Response Team in Japan

Toy near destroyed home, Rikuzen-Takata.
Toy near destroyed home, Rikuzen-Takata.

Two weeks after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck the coast of Japan, our emergency response team has reached the hardest-hit coastal areas that have yet to receive humanitarian assistance.

The total number of deaths is now feared to be greater than 18,000 with approximately 380,000 currently housed in temporary shelters. Our team found that supplies of food and water are now generally improving in the evacuation centers, but some specific food items and medications are still needed. In response, we have delivered packaged baby foods and medications including nasal sprays, antihistamines and eye drops. In addition, we’re helping improve on the ground communication between evacuation and coordination centers by distributing laptops, satellite phones, and walkie-talkies.

Survivors, many of whom have lost loved ones and homes, are in need of mental health support. According to team member Dr. Mutsuo Ikuhara, "we saw first-hand how extensive the material and human damage of the tsunami and earthquake was. Displaced people lost everything and require much emotional support. We are deeply moved by the strength and dignity of the people and their terrible suffering."

Our team is coordinating with the Japanese government to fill critical gaps, provide support, deliver supplies, and if needed, deploy four medical teams on standby. Thank you so much for your generous donation. We promise to keep you updated on our emergency response in Japan.

Debris field at Rikuzen-Takata.
Debris field at Rikuzen-Takata.
Piled up debris at Rikuzen-Takata.
Piled up debris at Rikuzen-Takata.


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Project Leader

Erica Tavares

Director, Resource Development
santa monica, CA United States

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