Response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

by Mercy Corps
A woman outside her redone kimono shop
A woman outside her redone kimono shop

In March, we passed the two year anniversary of the devastating tsunami that rocked the Tohoku region. During that time, we reflected on the aid provided in those two years and we want to share just a few accomplishments because of you:

  • With our long-time partners Peace Winds Japan, we gave vouchers to local people instead of handing out goods and food which allowed families to buy what they really needed.
  • From the voucher program, we moved on to keep keystone industries in the area going such as reopening the dock-side fish market in Ofunato.
  • Shortly after, we provided start-up and re-employment grants which have reached more than 200 businesses and employed 1,000 people (with the help of NGO PlaNet Finance and Kesennuma Shinkin Bank). 

Live affected by the tsunami have been improved because of you. Thank you. 

Though we will continue our long term efforts in the region, we will no longer be doing a project page through GlobalGiving. If you would like to still donate to the mission of Mercy Corps through GlobalGiving, we encourage you to change lives through our Help Turn Crisis Into Opportunity project. You can also continue to follow our progress in Japan and see our other programs in the country as well. 

We are truly thankful for your generous contributions and for continuing to care two years after the catastrophe. You have helped the people of Japan get back on their feet quicker!

With gratitude,



Mr. Nagashima hard at work in his new bakery
Mr. Nagashima hard at work in his new bakery

Thank you so much for all the support you have given to the citizens of Japan. Their stories of survival and struggle are harrowing, but their spirit and dedication to resuming their lives and businesses are inspiring. We want to share with you a couple of stories to show how your contribution has made an impact.

Much like anywhere, the key to reviving these communities was to jump-start its small business sector. Through our partnership with PlaNet Finance and generous donors such NVIDIA and people like you, we have been able to provide financial tools to small business owners, help them re-open their doors, provide jobs within their community and restore badly needed flow of goods and services

For instance, Ryota Nagashima - a bakery-owner from Minamisanriku, lost everything in the tsunami. While living in a temporary shelter, Mr. Nagashima spotted a bag of donated flour and immediately had an idea to make pancakes for his fellow shelter dwellers. Mr. Nagashima, with support from a Mercy Corps grant, reopened his bakery and hired two full-time positions. Today he is again famous for his creations, and his shop and products have drawn tourists from all over the country.

Then there is the story of Tsutomu Onodera - a former fish merchant whose business, along with the entire fishery infrastructure perished in the tsunami. Driven to help restart this vital product supply chain, Mr. Onodera, with the help of the re-employment grant from NVIDIA started a co-op fresh food market where small vendors gather to sell their produce and fish.

Ryota Nagashima's and Tsutomu Onodera's businesses are two examples of the 219 enterprises that this Mercy Corps program has reached - because of you - totaling over 2,600 people. But most importantly, 100% of the businesses that we have supported are still in business. At this rate, we plan to keep granting to businesses through 2014!

We could not do this long-term rebuilding without donors like you, so thank you! This is the last day to have your donations matched by Global Giving at 100%. Help us double the impact for the people of Japan and the rebuilding of their businesses. 

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits

The co-op fresh food market
The co-op fresh food market


For the next 36 hours only, Global Giving will match any of your donations by 200%! 

That means that for every $1 you donate, $2 more will be added on.

Here's a breakdown of how much a 200% match means for your donations:

  • $10 you donate becomes $30
  • $25 you donate becomes $75 
  • $50 you donate becomes $150
  • $100 you donate becomes $300

You have already made such an impact in the lives of many, and we thank you for that. This is one more way you can help the citizens of Japan continue to recover and rebuild from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit them in 2011. Even a small donation can make a huge difference!

Global Giving will continue to match your credit card or Paypall donations until March 15th, but the next 36 hours is the only time (until March 11th, 2013 23:59 PM EDT (March 12th, 12:59 PM JST)) they are matching at 200%! 

Your donation will support small businesses and provide access to capital and advice to revive the local markets and provide jobs to others. 

Thank you for continuing to care about those in Japan. We could not do our ongoing work without you!

With gratitude,



Sachie Saijo and her mother Seiko
Sachie Saijo and her mother Seiko

Just like you haven't forgotten about what happened in Japan, neither have we!

Starting today, for a limited time, just for the next two weeks (March 1st-15th) every donation you make to Mercy Corps' Japan Earthquake and Tsunami project will be matched by GlobalGiving at 100% up to $1,000.

Though the situation in Japan may not make the news anymore, the people there are still in need. It is only through continued support from donors like you that has allowed them to rebuild their lives. Mercy Corps has been there from the start with immediate life-saving care, and we will remain there to provide long-term solutions. 

Help us to honor this two year anniversary of the devastating tsunami and earthquake by making a donation and having your gifts matched today.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits


Newly hired woman in a bakery Mercy Corps supports
Newly hired woman in a bakery Mercy Corps supports

As we ring in the New Year, we spend time reviewing what has been done in 2012. Because of you, we at Mercy Corps were able to do some real life-changing work this year!

You are the reason Mercy Corps has expanded our small business program that has already created over 500 jobs in Japan to another area affected by the tsunami. Mercy Corps and our partner PlaNet Finance Japan are working with another bank, Abukuma Shinkin Bank, in the town of Minamisoma to offer reemployment and startup grants and loan interest payments for small businesses. Minamisoma not only experienced the force of the earthquake and tsunami, but it is only 20-30 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and half of the city is inside the evacuation zone. Of the surviving population, many have left because of concerns about exposure to radiation. The triple disasters had a devastating effect on businesses and recovery in Minamisoma has been much slower than other tsunami-affected cities. In this difficult environment, because of you, there are signs of recovery and interest in restarting businesses. Thank you.

We like to see the people our supporters like you have impacted, and I bet you do too. Over 17,000 photos were collected from around the world this year and we would like to share some of them with you!

Check out our slide show of the ten best images from 2012 from our worldwide programs and witness photos of:

  • Mercy Corps training women to mediate land conflict in Guatemala.
  • Wiam, a seven-year-old girl living with just a suitcase and a cardboard box of belongings in the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
  • Thirteen-year-old Donatien playing a traditional game. He and his family fled to this new village during attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army in the Central African Republic.
  • Jhon, during his training as a mechanical engineer in our rehabilitation program in Colombia. Jhon escaped life as a child soldier with the FARC militants.

And many others!

These images capture the resilient and strong-willed spirit of those we work with just like those in Japan, but there is still so much to be done.

As you consider your end-of-year giving, I encourage you to donate to a Mercy Corps project through Global Giving. Continue to support this one or pick a different project to make a lifesaving difference for families in need:

With you, in 2013, we will continue to make it a brighter, healthier year for families in the world’s most desperate places. With your support, we can make it happen - together!

In gratitude,

Carlene Deits

Women being trained to mediate land conflicts
Women being trained to mediate land conflicts
Syrian refugee 7 year old Wiam in Jordan waits
Syrian refugee 7 year old Wiam in Jordan waits
After fleeing Joseph Kony
After fleeing Joseph Kony's LRA, boy plays game



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Organization Information

Mercy Corps

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Carlene Deits
Portland, OR United States

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