May 11, 2011

Earthquake-Tsunami Update and Appeal for Donations

The Tokyo Foundation is very grateful for the warm words of sympathy and support that have been conveyed to us from our friends and colleagues around the world in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11. They have given us the strength and courage to carry on with our activities.

Aftershocks have largely subsided in Tokyo, where our office is located, and the transportation network has returned to normal. But the situation in the Tohoku region near the quake's epicenter remains grave; nearly 25,000 people have lost their lives or are missing, and over 115,000 people whose homes were destroyed have been forced to move into temporary shelters, often far from home.

The crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant is still ongoing, and radiation levels continue to be a cause of concern for area residents. It has also caused a severe power shortage in eastern Japan, and people in the Tokyo metropolitan area are doing everything they can to save energy. The recovery and reconstruction effort is likely to become a very long process owing to the vast geographical scale and severity of the damage.

The Nippon Foundation—the donor of the Sylff and NF-JLEP endowments—is providing both immediate and middle- to long-term support for the recovery in an accountable and timely manner.

In terms of immediate aid, members of The Nippon Foundation staff were on the ground in the affected areas soon after the quake, working closely with several NGOs to deliver food, water, and other supplies as well as providing such services as warm foot baths and clean water for the evacuees. They also set up centers to coordinate the activities of various volunteer groups and have been securing medical supplies as well specialists, including doctors, nurses, psychotherapists, and sign language interpreters as paid volunteers to support the people of the disaster-stricken areas.

The medium- to long-term plans are focused on children who were orphaned in the disaster, disabled individuals, the elderly, foreign workers, and others whose needs are sometimes overlooked in difficult circumstances.

News and information about the Nippon Foundation’s relief and recovery efforts, dubbed the ROAD (“Resilience will Overcome Any Disaster”) Project, can be found here.

To help finance these efforts, we are requesting that donations be made to The Nippon Foundation/CANPAN Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. Gifts can be made either online by credit card or bank transfer. Total donations received as of May 6, 2011, was over 1.4 billion yen (approx. 17.5 million US dollars).



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We at the Tokyo Foundation are very grateful to several universities that have launched their own donation drives and for the concern that has been expressed for not only the victims but all people of Japan.