Japan: Progress and Hope Two Years After the Earthquake and Tsunami

Two years after the devastating 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster struck northern Japan, taking the lives of more than 16,000 people and leaving an estimated 3,000 missing, Direct Relief continues to support long-term recovery efforts to restore health and hope to the people affected.

Immediately following the disaster, Direct Relief and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)—the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the U.S.—established the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund, committing 100 percent of all contributions to be used exclusively to help the people in Japan in the most efficient way possible.

Consistent with both organizations’ missions, the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund has been used to support local Japanese organizations responding to the disaster who are caring for the most vulnerable people affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Their relief and recovery services working across the tsunami-affected areas include immediate emergency response feeding and shelter programs as well as long-term recovery and specialized rehabilitative care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Over the last two years, through the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund, JACL and Direct Relief have:

  • Received $6 million from thousands of generous donors worldwide
  • Granted $4.9 million to nine local Japanese organizations, which account for 81 percent of total donations received
  • Committed $700,000 in remaining funds to support the long-term needs of the most vulnerable people
  • Spent only seven percent on program management and oversight

Last year, Direct Relief and JACL released an online, interactive map providing a comprehensive overview of tsunami inundation areas and specific site-level information about expenditures, activities, rationale, and progress related to the work conducted by the in-country nongovernmental partner organizations supported by the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund. More than 250 supported project sites are represented on the map, which can be found found here along with detailed overviews and metrics about each funded program.

JACL and Direct Relief continue their joint commitment to help local nonprofit groups in Japan recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Over the next year, the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund will expend the remaining funds to ensure that long-term recovery efforts are supported.

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