World Vision in Japan, unloading relief supplies
The Japanese government and the UN agency coordinating humanitarian relief operations, in response to the March 11 quake and tsunami, have repeatedly asked that many foreign organizations refrain from trying to actively assist in the relief efforts.
Is this falling on deaf, if well-intentioned, ears? Or is it a request made to disguise the government’s inability to adequately respond?
I can’t tell.
The request by Japanese and UN officials may appear counter-intuitive, but it’s not too hard to understand upon further reflection. There is limited access on the roads and fuel shortages. The government and in-country assistance organizations need to have priority access. Continue reading
We are all focused on the disaster in Japan right now, as we should be.
But what about the other, bigger disasters?
The massive earthquake, tsunami and current concern about damage to a Japanese nuclear power plant are the top news stories today. The quake was huge, the fifth largest in the last century. President Obama said today the U.S. is “marshaling forces” to help Japan deal with the catastrophe.
Local relief organizations like World Vision and Mercy Corps have put the Japanese quake-tsunami on the “front page” of their websites even though it is unlikely either organization will be doing much in response. I talked to both organizations and they are standing by ready to help, but both said it is possible they will not be needed.
Japan can largely take care of itself. World Vision and Mercy Corps take care of those who can’t. Continue reading