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American Red Cross Responds to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

WASHINGTON - Our hearts go out to the people of Japan and the other survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. We have been in close contact with our colleagues in the Pacific region to offer our support, and the American Red Cross deployed a disaster management expert Sunday from its Washington, D.C., headquarters to Japan 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.

 

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million volunteers. These local volunteers in Japan are distributing relief items, making sure displaced people are offered hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation. The Japanese Red Cross has also deployed 95 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses.

 

Officials from the Japanese Red Cross have indicated they would be grateful for donations from the American Red Cross to support their earthquake and tsunami response. Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to support our disaster relief efforts in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

 

INTERNATIONAL

 

The American Red Cross is working with the Japanese Red Cross to assess their needs and see how we can help. On Sunday, the American Red Cross deployed a disaster management expert from its Washington, D.C., headquarters to Japan 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.

 

Officials from the Japanese Red Cross have indicated they would be grateful for donations from the American Red Cross to support their earthquake and tsunami response. The American Red Cross aided the Japanese during the Kobe earthquake in 1995, and they, in turn, sent us support after September 11 and Hurricane Katrina.

 

A full picture of the scale of devastation is still emerging. Authorities have confirmed more than 1,600 deaths and another 10,000 missing. Search and rescue will remain the top priority for the overall response for the coming days. Millions of people have no water or electricity as well.

 

About 370,000 people have been evacuated or displaced. Many have evacuated to the approximately 2,000 shelters operated by the government and supported by the Japanese Red Cross.  

The Japanese Red Cross has handed out more than 46,000 blankets so far, and nearly 28,000 more have been sent to the affected area for further distribution.

 

·The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers are already taking action by distributing relief items, making sure displaced people are offered hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

 

They have deployed 95 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses. These teams are providing assistance in affected areas through mobile medical clinics.

While it is not the role of the Red Cross in the U.S., the Japanese Red Cross operates 92 hospitals throughout the country. Droves of injured people in need of medical help arrive around the clock – the wounded arrive on foot, by helicopter or carried by their fellow citizens.

 

The Japanese Red Cross specialist helicopter team was mobilized to evacuate people from rooftops and to assist with the logistics of transporting medicine and food to hospitals.

 

The Japanese Red Cross is also offering psychosocial support to affected people. The Japanese Red Cross has 2,369 nurses trained nationwide to give emotional comfort following major emergencies.

 

There is a real concern for the elderly, who have been particularly hard hit and are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia. 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.

 

Nuclear Power Plants

At present, authorities are taking precautions and evacuating the area surrounding two of the country’s nuclear power plants.

 

The Japanese Red Cross is supporting evacuations from the exclusion zone, and continues to closely monitor the situation.

 

The Japanese Red Cross has 31 branches (out of a total of 47) that are equipped to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.

 

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.

 

U.S. DISASTER READINESS

 

As Hawaii and the west coast of the United States felt the impact of Friday’s tsunami, Red Cross chapters in California, Oregon and Washington opened evacuation centers supporting more than 2,500 people.

 

Within hours of the tsunami warning in the Pacific, the Red Cross activated 100 mobile feeding vehicles and warehouses stocked with relief supplies in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), California, Washington and Hawaii.

 

After any domestic disaster, people can rely on the American Red Cross to provide food, shelter, emotional support, health services, family linking services, and distribution of clean-up supplies and comfort items.

 

The American Red Cross has more than 300 mobile feeding vehicles and 26 warehouses strategically placed around the country and stocked with disaster relief supplies.

We have thousands of trained volunteers, call centers, computer systems and paid staff across the country ready to respond to disasters year-round, within the first  critical hours after a disaster.

 

Large-scale disasters create a wide range of emergency needs, more than any one organization or government agency can meet. That’s why in the U.S., the American Red Cross works in close coordination with local and federal government agencies to be ready to respond to catastrophic events.

 

In addition to our ongoing partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross works closely with public health partners, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Red Cross workers participate in regular disaster exercises with government and community partners to test the readiness of the entire U.S. response community to large-scale events, including nuclear accidents. For example, just in the past six months, Red Cross senior leadership participated in two nuclear power plant exercises with federal partners.

 

After a disaster, some services like evacuation coordination, search and rescue operations and decontamination won’t be provided by the Red Cross, since they are best handled by agencies or organizations that have the resources, expertise and trained workers to carry out these tasks.

 

DISASTER FUNDRAISING

 

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and service victims of other crises.

 

People can make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999. With the exception of our costs for operations along the U.S. west coast and Hawaii related to the tsunami (supporting more than 2,500 in evacuation centers), and an average of 9 percent we typically charge for administrative costs, all the money raised by the American Red Cross will go to the Japan earthquake and tsunami response.

 

 

LOCATING FAMILY/FRIENDS

 

The best way to contact or locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225.

 

People in Japan and other countries in the Pacific can register at http://www.icrc.org/familylinks to inform their family and friends that they are safe and provide their current contact details.

 

People in the U.S. looking for loved ones can check the ICRC list for information. They can also register the names of family members and friends, encouraging them to get in touch.

 

BLOOD

 

To date, the American Red Cross has not received any requests for blood from the Japanese Red Cross, the Japanese government or the U.S. State Department.

 

We are prepared to respond to any request for blood as a result of the earthquake in Japan and the Pacific tsunami. However, at this time, we are not collecting blood from individuals in America to go to Japan.

 

The American Red Cross will ship blood products outside of the United States (adhering to appropriate regulatory guidelines), following a specific request from the Japanese government or the Japanese Red Cross.

 

As always, blood donors in the United States are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to give blood.  Your blood donation will become part of the nation’s blood supply and will help ensure that we are prepared for any blood needs that arise here at home or wherever blood is needed.

 

SERVICES TO ARMED FORCES

 

The military has reported that all their personnel are accounted for, and all Red Cross staff on military bases are fine. 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. 



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