Two years after the disaster the relief efforts continue

humedica supports local partners

by Ruth Bücker,  2013/03/11

Two years ago, the northeast of Japan was not only hit by one, but by several disasters. On March 11th, 2011, about 130 kilometres off the Japanese coast, the seabed cracked and caused an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale – one of the five strongest quakes ever measured worldwide.

The tsunami caused by the quake rushed towards the Japanese coasts at several hundred kilometres per hour and left destruction, chaos and hundreds of thousands homeless. The waves of destruction were up to 20m high and flooded 561 square kilometres of living and floor space. An area as large as the Lake of Constance was devastated within a matter of seconds.

In the midst of all that: the nuclear power station of Fukushima, where, due to a concatenation of dramatic circumstances, radioactive radiation was released into the environment. Even several days after the tsunami, explosions occurred in several reactors and led to the melting of fuel rods in some of them.

While most of the relief efforts focused on containing the nuclear disaster and the worldwide public attention focused on Fukushima, humedica and a partner organisation concentrated on helping the victims of the natural disaster several hundred kilometres away.

Several hours after the seaquake had occurred and the tsunami waves had reached the coast, a humedica team of five was already on board a plane, equipped with medication and primary care supplies. At that time, neither the doctors nor coordinators could suspect that they would already set off for their return journey only one and a half days later. The decision to travel back to Germany again for security reasons was a very difficult one for those responsible at the humedica headquarters as well.

The danger provoked by radioactive radiation is unpredictable and we consider it irresponsible to expose our volunteers to this objective danger”, humedica managing director Wolfgang Groß explained at that time. Yet this first step backwards did not mean a total give-up of relief-efforts by any means.

In cooperation with the Japan-based relief agencies Living Water Fellowship and CRASH Japan, the first relief goods were distributed immediately: rice and soya for hundreds of thousands of meals as well as first supplies for emergency shelters. Furthermore, the helpers distributed clothes and gave support and comfort in this horrible situation.

Now, after two years and several visits by the humedica coordinator to Japan, the relief efforts continue, thanks to your donations: After complex and time-consuming clean-up efforts in the affected coastal areas, reconstruction works were finally begun in February 2013.

humedica supports the Japanese facility Kingsgarden that takes care of mentally disabled adults and offers them both accommodation as well as a sheltered workshop where they can spend their days. It is expected that their buildings, which had been completely or at least partly damaged, will be ready to be moved into again in late summer. This will be a further milestone of our help for Japan.

Heartfelt thanks for all the support we received for our relief efforts!

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