“Huge challenge to procure relief items”
Tokyo - CARE Japan is sending a convoy of three vehicles packed with relief items to the destroyed area of Iwate prefecture in North Japan to assist people affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday. “It is a huge challenge at the moment to procure much-needed food, water and sanitary items. However, we managed to source supplies from Western Japan which we will distribute to affected families in an emergency shelter in Kamaishi city,” says Katsuhiko Takeda, National Director of CARE Japan.
One of the greatest obstacles is reaching the affected areas. Due to the nuclear threat from the damaged reactor, destroyed infrastructure and continuing aftershocks, the relief effort is severely hampered and people are still waiting for assistance. “In Iwate prefecture, people have no fuel at all. We plan to distribute more fresh vegetables and fruits but these are almost impossible to buy at the markets”, Katsuhiko Takeda says.
The CARE convoy will drive from Tokyo to the city of Kamaishi in Iwate prefecture Thursday evening. The roads are reported to be clear, but it will still take approximately eight or nine hours to reach the area. “At the moment, the Japanese government only permits convoys to go to the North if they carry relief items with them,” Katsuhiko Takeda reports. CARE will distribute toilet paper, water, face masks, sanitary tissues, biscuits, fruits and small portions of rice to approximately 900 people. “The situation is changing daily. It is very difficult to receive accurate information. Once in Kamaishi we will assess the situation to determine how best CARE can scale up our response,” Katsuhiko Takeda says.
More than 550,000 people are living in temporary shelters. 1.4 million households remain without water. CARE is coordinating closely with other agencies and local government to respond to the needs of the people.
CARE Japan was founded in 1987 and implements programs on education as well as water and sanitation projects in developing countries. CARE Japan is part of CARE International, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Working side by side with poor people in 70 countries, CARE helps empower communities to address the greatest threats to their survival. Women are at the heart of CARE’s efforts to improve health, education and economic development because experience shows that a woman’s achievements yield dramatic benefits for her entire family. CARE is also committed to providing lifesaving assistance during times of crisis, and helping rebuild safer, stronger communities afterward. We advocate for policies that defend the dignity of all people and promote the eradication of poverty.