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DEMIRA - Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Operation

09-01-2011 07:41 AM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: DEMIRA Deutsche Minenräumer e.V.

Emergency shelter /Picture: Kjeld Duits /DEMIRA

Emergency shelter /Picture: Kjeld Duits /DEMIRA

Munich, 30.03.2011. An earthquake measuring 9.0 shook the north-east of Japan on 11th March 2011. The resulting powerful Tsunami destroyed hundreds of kilometers of the east coast of Japan. Dozens of cities were either totally or partially destroyed. The death toll is still largely unknown, however, the figures already lie far above the 20,000 mark and hundreds of thousands are homeless.
A nuclear catastrophe is taking place around the area of Fukushima, the extent of which still not known and is posing an incalculable risk to the relief workers in certain areas. The Japanese political handling of information regarding the situation in Japan is causing problems in gauging the extent of the problem, since the situation is played down and international help has been more or less declined.

The situation and Project planning (since the 11.03). It became apparent quite early on that we would not be sending medical teams to Japan. In this disaster a different approach would be needed: DEMIRA relief worker and project manager Kjeld Duits enabled us to form our own independent conclusions about the situation. Kjeld has lived in Tokyo for over 30 years, speaks the language and knows the culture. He is on the ground in the region working as a photographer and journalist and is speaking to affected persons and officials. By doing this he was able to establish the size and type of the help needed, not only through communication with those affected but also by those officials (head of evacuation camp, governors of affected cities etc.) who directly approached him.

The cultural specifications of Japan require that the relief goods be carefully planned. Therefore we decided to collect all goods from inside Japan. After the largest part of the relief goods had been assembled we decided to start the project. A medical team is still not required as far as we can see. Furthermore, due to the unclear situation nuclear power plant, sending German relief workers at this time is too risky.

We have been working since the 22nd of March. The project manager is Kjeld Duits. He is carrying out the needs assessments, making lists of requirements and is taking care of the distribution of aid. In the Region of Kyushu Dr Miyata and his 4-mann team are coordinating the supplies in the south. The goods are then loaded onto 10t trucks and transported to the north to be distributed. We are cooperating with camps in the destroyed city of Rikuzentakata as well as with the council directly. Rikuzentakatk lies 200km north of Fukushima.

DEMIRA e.V. is a humanitarian, charitable, non-governmental organisation (NGO), which is non-religious and politically independent. It was founded in 1996 in order to provide humanitarian mine clearance, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), and emergency medical aid to people living in postwar countries and to victims of natural disasters and civil unrest. DEMIRA provides relief irrespective of race, sex, religion, or political orientation.

DEMIRA Deutsche Minenräumer e.V.
Hartmannstraße 8
80333 Munich
Tel.: 089/29165620
Fax: 089/29165619
Mariem Pusina
Fundraising and Public Relations
mariem.pusina@demira.org
http://www.demira.org

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