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International Medical Corps Team in Hardest-Hit Coastal Communities Finds Severe Shortages of Food, Water, Medicines; Acute Need for Mental Health Support
Date:3/18/2011

is also a noticeable fuel shortage.

While Japan has significant capacity to manage emergencies, the magnitude of this disaster – coupled with the threat of nuclear exposure – has been large enough to warrant international assistance. International Medical Corps is providing logistical support and technical expertise to local health authorities based on its more than 25 years of experience in disaster response, including following the 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The 9.0 earthquake on March 11 triggered a tsunami that buried many northern towns in a wall of water. Japanese news media report that up to 10,000 people may have been killed, but much of the north is still inaccessible. It has been described as the largest earthquake on record for Japan. Hundreds of aftershocks continue to shake the country, with a second large earthquake of 7.4-magnitude.

Thousands in the tsunami zone are without water, heat, electricity, or phone service, and some areas have been entirely cut off. On Friday, President Barack Obama said the United States was prepared to help however needed.

In addition, there have been explosions at nuclear power plants in northern Japan, compounding the crisis. While the level of radiation leaked is unknown, Japanese authorities have ordered large-scale evacuations surrounding the reactor zones.

International Medical Corps has been a leading responder to emergencies in more than 50 countries, including the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami, 2005 Pakistan earthquake, 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.

Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For
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