After the coast of Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, countless recovery efforts from communities and charity organizations worked together to help those affected by this tragedy. Groupon paired with the International Medical Corps, a group of health professionals dedicated to global support and relief, who dispatched response teams and supplies to mitigate the hardship and suffering.
We received an update from Rebecca Milner, Vice President of Institutional Advancement within the International Medical Corps, about how the funds raised are helping communities slowly recover:
I wanted to share with you and your colleagues at Groupon the latest update on International Medical Corps emergency response in Japan. Groupon was instrumental to our success – thank you again for promoting our work. The [G-Team] campaign was so great for us on so many levels…
As you well know, three months ago this week, a 9.0-earthquake – the fourth largest globally since 1900 – struck off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami that buried coastal villages in a wall of water. An estimated 23,000 people lost their lives and while the waters have long receded, the devastation and loss is still paralyzing.
Northeastern Tohoku, once a hub for fishing and farming, is now muddy wasteland covered in 25 million tons of rubble. More than 90,000 evacuees remain homeless, living in some hundreds of crowded shelters without jobs or a promise to return home.
International Medical Corps was on the ground just 48 hours after the tsunami struck. From the moment we first arrived in Japan, International Medical Corps has been working to support the Japanese government, local non-profit organizations, and people to recover and rebuild from what is considered the worst natural disaster in Japan’s history.
As part of these efforts, we have partnered with Tokyo English Life Line (TELL), a telephone counseling service, and are training their counselors in psychological first aid and other techniques that are crucial in supporting disaster survivors. Because of these trainings, 80 TELL staff are now well-versed in psychological first aid, in addition to 93 other responders and frontline workers from other institutions in Japan.
Together with TELL, International Medical Corps also held eight workshops for 301 parents and teachers on how to create a supportive environment for children – as well as nine workshops for 150 staff from different companies on coping skills for management and employees. International Medical Corps also distributed more than 400 handouts on positive coping strategies to people in the affected areas and organized a two-day mental health and psychosocial conference that drew 100 students, teachers, and professionals from across the country.
In addition to building Japan’s mental health response capabilities, International Medical Corps, with the support of AAFP and other donors, also provided the following:
- We delivered hot meals to more than 21,000 internally displaced people currently living in five of the evacuations centers.
- We are working with the local organization, Peace Boat, to provide hot meals, non-food items, and cleaning supplies to affected homes and communities.
- We provided computers and data cards to improve coordination among Miyagi Prefecture offices, regional coordination centers, and evacuation centers.
- We supplied medications and assisted in distributing baby food to more than 20,000 people.
- We provided washing machines, water tanks, laundry detergent, hangers, plates, and chopsticks to Ogatsu-machi, a small fishing village that was totally isolated after the tsunami.
- We are providing rental cars and computers to the local Japanese NGO, SHARE, so that they can deliver health services in people’s homes.
You and your colleagues can continue to track our work on our website at www.internationalmedicalcorps.org/japan and read stories of some of the survivors we have encountered. The people of Japan have a long road ahead, and International Medical Corps will continue to provide support and assistance as they recover and rebuild.
All the best,
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
International Medical Corps