On 11th March at 02:46 pm a huge earthquake of magnitude 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the cost of Sanriku(lat. 38.0 N, long. 142.9 E). The quake reached level 7 on the Japanese seismic scale – the highest level possible for the scale – in the most affected area. A tsunami alert was immediately issued for the Pacific side of the whole Japanese archipelago. The first wave of the tsunami reached the Japanese coast within 30 minutes and swept its north-eastern coastline over an area extending for 500 km. The height of the waves exceeded 15 meters in some areas. Tsunami waves repeatedly reached the Japanese coast several times afterwards.
The first strike caused heavy and widespread damage to all kinds of infrastructure and basic services, including communication lines, transportation, electricity, water supply and sewage systems. This damage is still impending the relief activities from being fully operational.
The Japanese Red Cross Society is running several large scale Red Cross Hospitals in north-eastern Japan and these function as base camps to receive evacuees and to launch mobile health activities. The city of Ishinomaki, which is located in the coastal area of Miyagi prefecture, still counts 10 thousand people missing. The Red Cross Hospital in Ishinomaki is the only hospital in the city which was able to survive the earthquake and tsunami and stay operational. Naturally, it was filled with the injured and the evacuees, on top of many existing in-patients.
However, the critical situation at four nuclear power reactors in Fukushima prefecture have been casting a shadow over the aforementioned positive developments in relief activities. Despite various professional efforts, the situation is still unstable.
This disaster is without doubt unprecedented in terms of the scale of damage and its comprehensive nature. In such a situation, we can never feel that our relief effort is good enough. Rather, we strongly feel that we should do more in terms of scale, timeliness and efficiency.
Indian Red Cross Society is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, Geneva, which has 186 members. Member National Societies express their solidarity with the country that experiences any kind of turmoil or disaster.
All voluntary contributions for Japan Earthquake & Tsunami would be acknowledged and funds shall be sent to the Japan Red Cross as per procedure. However, no tax exemption under 80 G shall be available for the present.