Response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Jun 12, 2012

A gift that changes lives in Japan

A child at a movie screening
A child at a movie screening

Mercy Corps continues to aid Japan's recovery by partnering with two local groups to establish the Sanriku Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery. This new program will provide grants and subsidies to small- and medium-size businesses with less than 20 employees before the Tsunami. The three-pronged approach will provide one-year long employment subsidy for a minimum of 50 jobs, encourage up to 25 local start-ups, and provide free-interest subsidies to promote post-tsunami reconstruction. The new fund begins accepting applications from businesses this month.This fund was established because of donations from you. Thank you.

As the holiday season approaches we would like to encourage you to continue supporting our efforts around the world by making a donation to Mercy Corps on behalf of a loved one. Make a donation in honor of someone special and get them a gift they will never forget. 

Through GlobalGiving, it’s easy to make this meaningful gift. Just select the ‘gift in honor of’ tab under the orange ‘donate’ button on the left side of the donation page. Choose how you want the recipient of your gift to know that a donation has been made in their honor. Designate the amount you would like to give and hit the ‘donate’ button. Then customize the card as you’d like! 

Also don’t forget to redeem any Global Giving Gift Cards that you may have received this year. Mercy Corps has many important projects that we could use your help with.

And, if you make a donation of $50 or more before the end of the year, we would love to thank you by sending our beautiful 2012 Mercy Corps Calendar. Just forward your email receipt and provide us with your mailing address to

However you choose to give to Mercy Corps this year, know that your gift will help people living in some of the toughest places in the world lead more productive, safe, and healthy lives.

From all of us here at Mercy Corps, thank you and Happy Holidays!

Examples of GlobalGiving Tribute Cards
Examples of GlobalGiving Tribute Cards
Mercy Corps 2012 Calendar
Mercy Corps 2012 Calendar


Oct 13, 2011

Japan: More than Six Months Later

Photo: Mao Sato/Peace Winds Japan
Photo: Mao Sato/Peace Winds Japan

More than six months since the massive quake struck Japan, Mercy Corps, with help from Peace Winds, continues to bring relief to people in need while also continuing efforts that include economic recovery and trauma support. Our projects because of your donations have helped 148,000 people who live in the four towns where we are working: Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, Kesennuma and Minamisanriku.

We are helping families that our moving out of shelters into temporary housing provided by the Japanese government by providing bedding and kitchen items. Watch a video of Mercy Corp distributing supplies hereWe have also helped more than 6,000 survivors by distributing vouchers that they can use to purchase supplies they need from local merchants. And since transportation remains a challenge we are helping merchants bring their goods to customers via mobile shops and we are providing people access to stores by running a bus program.

We are also working with fishing associations and chambers of commerce to help vital industries recover. For example, we helped a fish market in Ofunato resume operations by providing much needed equipment like a scales, forklifts, and fish tanks. The market now sells many types of fish including bonito a high demand fish in Japan. We are also helping fishing associations in Minamisanriku purchase essential equipment to restart the production of wakame, a seaweed staple of the Japanese diet. The processing of the seaweed will create jobs for local women who traditionally do this work.   

Mercy Corps is also working to help children and adults deal with the emotional effects of the large disaster. Comfort for Kids is an innovative program that delivers training, books, and pamphlets to parents and teachers designed to help children recover from trauma. To see a copy of the Comfort for Kids workbook in Japanese click here.

Arts and Sports Caravan, a program led by a Japanese art therapist, helps Mercy Corps build and strengthen communities by providing children with fun, creative activities that allow them to express their feelings. It also gives parents an informal opportunity to talk over tea and cookies and speak with trained staff.

Moving Forward, a partnership with Peace Winds and Nike, uses sports to help young people recover physically and mentally from trauma that they have suffered. 

Thank you so much for your continued support, without it none of these projects would be possible.  


To support more projects like this, we recommend that you donate on October 19th. Here is why:
Starting at 12:01 am EDT on October 19th/9:01 pm PDT on October 18th, GlobalGiving is matching all donations at 30% up to $1,000 per donor per projectGlobalGiving has $100,000 available in matching funds. Matching will last until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT/ 8:59 pm PDT (whichever comes first). Get your donation in early, as funds are known to run out.
Donations made on or any GlobalGiving corporate sites (including Nike, Global Action Atlas, etc) are NOT eligible for matching. But often gifts made through the corporate sites are matched by the employer, so don’t feel left out – you can still donate!
Feel free to support this or other Mercy Corps projects, including:
Photo: Christopher Cabatbat/Mercy Corps
Photo: Christopher Cabatbat/Mercy Corps
Photo: Christopher Cabatbat/Mercy Corps
Photo: Christopher Cabatbat/Mercy Corps


Jul 26, 2011

What I saw in Japan

Japanese Girls at Mercy Corps
Japanese Girls at Mercy Corps' Program

Last month I visited some of the areas of Japan hit worst by the March tsunami. There, with your help, Mercy Corps and partner Peace Winds are still helping survivors.

I visited evacuation centers where hundreds of Japanese families continue to take shelter. I stood in the ruins of homes and businesses. And I heard plenty of hard stories.

But you know what? I also met folks with remarkable bravery and resolve. I saw lots of smiles. And I heard plenty of laughter — like the children in this video I shot of our Comfort for Kids program.

You are a big reason for their smiles and laughter. With your support, Mercy Corps has helped thousands of kids heal through art, sports and other playful activities.

Because of you, we're also helping communities recover by:

  • Supporting a mobile grocery store that travels to evacuation centers so displaced families can buy their own food.
  • Equipping local Chambers of Commerce with the support they need to rebuild businesses and small-town economies.
  • Helping hard-hit fishermen return to sea, which will restore jobs and help families begin again.

From the wreckage I saw, I can tell you there's a long way to go. But the ruins only tell one part of the story. The smiles of survivors and laughter of children on their way to recovery tell another.

On behalf of the people I met, and thousands of others in Japan who you're helping, thank you for your incredibly caring support.

Roger Burks


Roger Burks
Roger Burks
Senior Writer


May 11, 2011

Japan Update: From relief to recovery

Delivering relief to displaced disaster survivors
Delivering relief to displaced disaster survivors

It's been two months since a deadly earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan. Since then -- alongside our partner, Peace Winds -- Mercy Corps' emergency response team has been delivering food, water and other critical supplies to displaced survivors. Your support has truly made a difference after one of the worst disasters in recent memory.

Here's some of the important work we are and will continue to do in the coming weeks:

  • Continuing and expanding our Comfort for Kids program to provide psychosocial support to children
  • Delivering household goods and supplies to displaced families who are moving into temporary housing
  • Distributing cash vouchers to survivors to help them buy much-needed supplies at local stores, which also helps stimulate struggling local economies
  • Supporting hard-hit fisheries and fishing cooperatives to help the region's biggest industry to get going again destroyed local businesses with mobile shops 
  • Providing a bus service for survivors in Rikuzentakata to run to nearby Ofunato, where evacuees and other locals can purchase basic goods, and take care of essential needs like doctor or bank visits 
  • Boosting the capacity of local Chambers of Commerce to support local businesses

Rebuilding and restoring this part of Japan is an enormous task that will take a very long time -- but we feel proud to be part of a team that is leading that recovery. You're part of that team, too.

Thank you for your help.


Apr 25, 2011

Send a message of hope to a child in Japan

Fuminori Onodera sits among ruins in Shizugawa
Fuminori Onodera sits among ruins in Shizugawa

I want to personally thank you for supporting Mercy Corps while we respond to the earthquake and disaster in Japan. I’ve returned from the area and can tell you firsthand what a difference your gift is making to the survivors.

During my time in Japan I saw tremendous resilience. But I also saw overwhelming sadness and need. One image still haunts me. Amid a field of rubble as far as the eye could see, I spotted an older man sitting on a log in front of a roaring fire. He was blankly staring into the distance, not moving.

I introduced myself. He pointed sadly to a pile of debris and explained that’s where his house used to be. Now his family is staying with a neighbor. His children are having nightmares and he doesn’t know how to ease their fear.

As I listened to this survivor, I was so grateful that Mercy Corps is there to help him and his family with programs like Comfort for Kids.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami didn't just topple buildings — they shook lives. Japan's children are among those most affected by displacement and disaster.

Today, you can send a caring message to those children and this community, letting them know you support them in their time of need. It only takes a few minutes to write a few words that will mean the world to them.

Mercy Corps is launching our Comfort for Kids program in devastated areas of Japan to help the youngest survivors overcome their trauma. We will train parents, teachers and other caregivers how to guide kids through the healing process. Right now you can be a part of that: please take a moment to reach out and tell a child that you care about them.

I was especially thankful for people like you – oceans away – who have reached into your hearts to help. Together, we’ll help these courageous people through their time of need.

Thanks for all you do to help!


Joy Portella

Communications Director

To follow Mercy Corps' efforts in Japan, click here.


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Mercy Corps

Portland, OR, United States

Project Leader

Carlene Deits

Portland, OR United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami