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.