Response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

by Mercy Corps
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.


By: Joy Portella, Mercy Corps of 3 year-old Kokowa
By: Joy Portella, Mercy Corps of 3 year-old Kokowa

Disasters like Japan's earthquake and tsunami devastate and disrupt lives — none more than the lives of children like three-year-old Kokowa.

After the tsunami, Kokowa's family was stuck on the roof of a building for three days. They had to be rescued by helicopter. Now they're living in a local gymnasium with dozens of other families, including 100 other children. Mercy Corps is helping provide food, heaters and other supplies to families — but Japan's ongoing crisis has left Kokowa and her family homeless, unsure of when or how they'll be able to resume their lives.

This disaster has deeply affected thousands of young lives. That's why, alongside our local partner Peace Winds, Mercy Corps is launching our Comfort for Kids program.

Comfort for Kids trains caregivers how to help children through the trauma of disaster. The Mercy Corps team has used this approach in places including Haiti, the U.S. Gulf Coast and China. Comfort for Kids is a priority here in Japan because the continuing stress of aftershocks, combined with grief and loss, make it critical to provide children with emotional support as soon as possible.

We're committed to helping families and businesses recover from this disaster — but it is especially important to bring help and hope to the littlest survivors: children like three-year-old Kokowa. Thank you for your support.

Unloading fresh water for evacuees in NE Japan
Unloading fresh water for evacuees in NE Japan

Japan is going through one of the worst -- and most complex -- emergencies in recent memory. An earthquake, tsunami waves and a nuclear crisis have destroyed cities and displaced thousands of survivors. But, with your generous support, we're rushing relief to them alongside our partner Peace Winds.

Here are the latest developments from our emergency response team:

Yesterday, we delivered 510 kerosene space heaters and 80 family-sized emergency tents to survivors who are braving frigid temperatures in northeastern Japan.

In all, the team has distributed the following supplies to families in four disaster-stricken cities:

  • three large shelters that can accommodate up to 100 people
  • 164 smaller tents that hold up to five people each
  • 1,720 blankets
  • 1,210 kerosene space heaters
  • 100,000 medical face masks
  • towels, mattresses, clothing and bottled water
  • 570 blue tarps for additional shelter
  • and food items such as bread, instant rice, apples and oranges.

Next week, we will begin providing post-trauma help to Japanese children using Comfort for Kids, a program that helps children recover from the emotional effects of a large-scale disaster. We've used Comfort for Kids in a variety of emergency responses, including the aftermaths of the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.

Your support is making a lifesaving difference in the midst of this epic disaster. Thank you for your caring support and commitment to helping people in need.



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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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