Disaster Alert: Earthquake in Guatemala

November 8, 2012

Dozens of people were killed and millions were affected by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that occurred yesterday morning off the coast of Guatemala. The Guatemalan Red Cross has declared a red alert following the country’s most powerful quake in more than three decades and has begun damage assessments in the affected areas of Guatemala City and San Marcos. In neighboring Mexico, where shaking was also felt, the government issued a precautionary tsunami warning.

 

The Red Cross network has deployed two delegates to the region to assist with assessments. The American Red Cross is in close communication with the Red Cross network’s headquarters of the Americas region and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit, which houses emergency relief supplies for distribution throughout the region.

 

Photo caption: A map of the earthquake’s shaking intensity. Photo from USGS.


Story: A Mother’s Quick Response

March 30, 2011

Photos and story by Olav A. Saltbones with the Norwegian Red Cross

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Response, 2011

Nanae Katayama gave birth to her third child on March 24 in a Red Cross hospital in Ishinomaki, Japan – 13 days after an earthquake and tsunami devastated communities along Japan’s northeast coast. The 31-year-old mother explains how she saved her children from the waves:

“I was in the house by myself, when the earthquake occurred. I put my head under the table, the things fell off but the house stayed still. Next moment I thought about my little boys in the nursery, whether it is safer to pick them up and bring them back to the house where things are everywhere, or let them stay there. The neighbors started to come out of the house, so I did. My friend was going to pick up her son at the same nursery, so I went with her and collected my two sons. I ran up to the hilly area with kids in both my hands and in my stomach.

Afterward, I was told that the tsunami hit the nursery 5 to 10 minutes later than that. Now a car is hanging off the entrance gate of the nursery and possibility of some children lost their lives. If I didn’t get a lift with my friend at that time, I would never ever have been able to hold my sons’ hands again. When I think about it, it is really scary. On top of the luck I didn’t lose my sons, now I am very happy to have a (long-awaited baby girl).”

See entire Japanese Red Cross Society Tsunami and Earthquake Response on Flickr >>


Photo: Japan Embassy Event

March 30, 2011

The American Red Cross today announced that the public has generously donated $120.5 million to help the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Embassy Event 3.29.11

“The Red Cross is an organization that has always been at the very center of the action when people are faced by natural disasters. On behalf of the Japanese people and the government of Japan I am so grateful to the American people and the American Red Cross.”

- Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States

See entire “2011 Japan Earthquake” set on Flickr >>


Press Release: Public Donates over $120 Million to American Red Cross to Assist Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

March 29, 2011

Public Donates over $120 Million to American Red Cross to Assist
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

Money will go to assist Japanese Red Cross and other relief and recovery efforts

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, March 29, 2011 – The American Red Cross today announced that the public has generously donated $120.5 million to help the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The announcement was made Tuesday at a press conference at the Japanese embassy with Japan’s Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki and American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.

The money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, specifically the Japanese Red Cross, which is providing direct emergency relief, medical services and emotional counseling to affected communities. The American Red Cross committed an initial $10 million in the early days after the disaster and will provide the Japanese Red Cross with another $50 million in the next few days. The remainder of the funds will be made available as they come in.

In addition to the funds provided to support work by the Japanese Red Cross, the American Red Cross has given $500,000 to the United Nation’s World Food Programme for logistics support for the delivery and storage of relief items for survivors. The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan.

“Almost three weeks after one of the most devastating earthquakes in history, we are immensely grateful to the American public for their continued generosity,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “As part of the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross is eager to support our counterparts in the Japanese Red Cross, whose staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet the immense needs of their people.”

“The American public and we at the American Red Cross have not forgotten the generosity of the Japanese people when we suffered tremendous loss after the 9/11 attacks and, more recently, after Hurricane Katrina,” said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross. “Collectively, the Japanese Red Cross sent us contributions of close to $30 million. Now it is our opportunity – and our duty – to do what we can to help you.”

The American Red Cross expects these funds will be used to fund immediate relief activities such as providing supplies and medical care. Over time, it is likely that some of the contributions will be used for longer-term recovery. The American Red Cross has been in close contact with its partners in the Asia Pacific region since the earthquake to offer its support. The Japanese Red Cross has expressed its gratitude for the support of the American people and the American Red Cross.

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million registered volunteers, many of whom have responded to help their neighbors affected by the earthquake, tsunami and evolving nuclear emergency.

Red Cross volunteers and staff in Japan continue to provide health care, emotional support activities and relief items to people affected. The Japanese Red Cross has dozens of medical teams operating in Red Cross hospitals and mobile clinics treating those affected by the disasters.

Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, the Red Cross dispatched relief items from stocks to assist those affected, and has provided 125,500 blankets and 25,000 emergency kits. The Red Cross is increasing its relief operations for survivors in evacuation centers and is planning to provide supplies for 100,000 people. It is also working with local authorities on ways to help people still living in evacuation centers.

Overall, the conditions for survivors appear to be improving: the number of people in shelters in Japan has dropped to 244,000 from what had been the high of nearly half a million. More supplies and fuel are also reaching affected areas. However, the needs are still overwhelming and uncertainty around several Japanese nuclear reactors and associated health risks remains a major concern.

The American Red Cross also has been assisting in the voluntary evacuations of military families from Japan. Over the past week, American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff stationed at military installations in the Far East assisted with the voluntary departures of military families from Japan. The Red Cross helped register departees, escorted people and assisted in military sheltering operations.

American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff also provided a range of support including: canteen services; registering passengers; helping people find out where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft. Once the families reached the U.S., Red Cross staff was also on hand to provide families food, snacks and comfort items.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.


Disaster Update: Earthquake in Japan

March 22, 2011

Disaster Update

Japan –

The American Red Cross is funding approximately half (or $500,0000) of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) logistical operation in Japan.

  • WFP is supporting the Government of Japan’s delivery of relief items to people affected by the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency by deploying personnel with logistical expertise and mobile warehouses to store relief items.
  • WFP has built up decades of experience in delivering food and other relief items in the most challenging environments. WFP is mandated to lead logistics operations by UN agencies whenever a humanitarian emergency strikes.
  • The American Red Cross has not been asked at this time to send any material items to Japan. Our main partner—the Japanese Red Cross—had sufficient supplies available throughout the country before the earthquake and tsunami and has been distributing them to the survivors since the disaster began on March 11.

Bad weather in the last few days is disrupting emergency relief efforts, including the delivery of supplies, and further compounding the situation in evacuation centers, where families have to endure the cold nights.

Ten days into the disaster response, the Japanese Red Cross continues to provide emergency relief, medical services and emotional support to affected communities. The American Red Cross is in close contact with our partners in the Asia Pacific region to offer our support, and they are grateful for the assistance.

American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Activity

Currently, all American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces staff stationed at military installations in the Far East are assisting with the voluntary departures of military families from Japan. The Red Cross is supporting military operations through registration of departees; escort duty; and assisting in military sheltering operations.

The American Red Cross has 19 staff members on eight U.S. military installations in Japan. Currently, these staff are supporting military operations by helping military families who are voluntarily departing Japan. They are providing canteen services; registering passengers; helping people find out where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft. Once the families reach the U.S., Red Cross staff are also on hand to provide families food, snacks and comfort items.

To help military families who are voluntarily departing Japan, American Red Cross staff at these stations are providing canteen services; data entry for all passengers to process ticketing; helping-hand services to help people find restrooms, food, and where to secure all the required military clearances; and assisting people to the aircraft.

As is the normal practice for a disaster, Red Cross station managers are in the military Emergency Operations Centers for their respective installations and assisting as needed. American Red Cross staff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, continue to provide canteen services for inbound military rescue/relief personnel.

The SAF staff at Joint Base Lewis/McChord in Washington State is working with the King and Kitsap Chapter and the Mt. Rainier Chapter to support the inbound military families voluntarily departing Japan. The team is currently providing food, snacks and comfort items for the military families.

The Dept. of Defense is in the process of opening a Welcome Center at Denver International Airport. The Mile High Chapter is actively involved with the support of military families by acting as a welcoming committee and providing food, snacks and emotional support. The first flight is expected to land in the next 24 hours.


Disaster Update: Earthquake in Japan

March 18, 2011

Disaster Update

Japan

“The compassion the American people have demonstrated over the past week through their generous support to the American Red Cross is incredibly uplifting at a time when we are dealing with such an immense humanitarian tragedy. This financial support is very much needed and continues to be welcomed to help the hundreds of thousands of lives that will forever be changed by this disaster.”

– Quote from Satoshi Sugai, Director of Disaster Relief with the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Nuclear Power Plants
Authorities have taken precautions and evacuated the area surrounding the Fukushima power plant. The Japanese Red Cross is supporting evacuations from the exclusion zone, and continues to closely monitor the situation.

A specialist team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby and ready to receive patients if required. This team has more than 80 years’ experience in treating patients for contamination.

Service to the Armed Forces
All American Red Cross SAF staff currently stationed at military installations in the Far East are preparing for Noncombatant Evacuation Operations. The Red Cross is supporting military operations through registration of evacuees; escort duty; and
assisting in military sheltering operations.

As is the normal practice for a disaster, Red Cross station managers are in the military Emergency Operations Centers for their respective installations and assisting as needed. Red Cross staff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, continue to provide canteen services for inbound military rescue/relief personnel.


Press Release: American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

March 15, 2011

American Red Cross Contributes an Initial $10 Million to Assist Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Survivors

[WASHINGTON, DC] March 15, 2011 – The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”

Read More >>


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