American Red Cross Investments in Japan Disaster Response Reach Nearly $210 Million - In less than three months, 80 percent of U.S. donations have been sent to Japan with millions more on the way.
The American Red Cross is making another $46 million donation to the Japanese Red Cross, bringing its contributions to date to nearly $210 million.
"I offer you my heart-felt gratitude for your concern, encouragement and assistance," said Tadateru Konoe, president of the Japanese Red Cross. "We have drawn strength from solidarity. The funds are being used in areas of high urgency where the relief and recovery package provides practical support to improve life and help people take those first steps towards recovery."
The American Red Cross is backing more than half of the Japanese Red Cross' $350 million aid program designed to meet the continuing emergency and longer-term recovery needs of more than 90,000 families living in evacuation centers and temporary housing.
Three months on from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan's northeast coastline on March 11, 2011, the Red Cross remains focused on helping to improve living conditions for many of the 98,000 people remaining in evacuation centers - most of which are situated in the hardest hit prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate. Japanese Red Cross employees and volunteers are providing a range of services for the evacuees and plans are underway to install washing machines, water tanks for hand washing, privacy partitions and televisions.
"The physical and mental health of evacuees is of major concern, particularly where people are facing prolonged stays in centers," said Alex Mahoney, disaster management expert with the American Red Cross. "Longer-term solutions to find more appropriate accommodation for people who have lost their homes are urgently needed."
The Red Cross is supporting families moving into temporary housing units provided by the government, helping to restore a sense of normality in their lives. Home appliance packages, comprised of a washing machine, rice cooker, refrigerator, hot water dispenser, microwave and television, will be provided to more than 90,000 families with support from the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross is also increasing the number of caregivers and psychological support teams working in evacuation centers and nursing homes to address mental health issues, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety amongst survivors.
With major damage to health and care services, another priority is to support medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and care homes. In Ishinomaki, the Red Cross is planning to boost local health services by building and equipping temporary medical facilities. Specially-equipped beds are also being donated to existing nursing homes across three prefectures where many elderly people require special care.
In addition to the funds contributed by the American Red Cross and other international partners, the Japanese Red Cross has said all of the donations collected from Japanese citizens will be applied to a cash grant program. To date, the Japanese Red Cross has sent approximately $1 billion to 15 municipalities charged with distributing cash grants to the survivors who have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods as a result of the tsunami.
As of June 6, the American Red Cross had raised nearly $253 million for the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response. This figure includes more than $4.5 million in text donations.
As these pledges are fulfilled and other donations are received, the American Red Cross will make additional contributions to the Japanese Red Cross recovery plan.
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 blog.redcross.org
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