Japan earthquake: How Red Cross helped rebuild and recover

Topics: Asia, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
March 11, 2016

Japan earthquake: How Red Cross helped rebuild and recover On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. The earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami, and the impact of the earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Five years later, Japan continues to rebuild and recover from the disaster. The Red Cross provided immediate support and aid, and continues assisting those still displaced as well as helping to improve community preparedness.

The destruction of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation resulted in more than 470,000 people being displaced from their homes. Today around 170,000 people are either housed in temporary or rented housing, or have moved to other parts of the country to restart their lives.   

As of September 2015, nearly 68% of homes and nearly 78% of farmland in Fukushima that had been contaminated by radiation had been decontaminated. As of November 2015, nine municipalities in Fukushima still had areas that were restricted due to radiation, in four of these municipalities more than half of the former residents said they would not return.

The disaster resulted in 10.54 tons of tsunami debris and 18.73 million tons of industrial waste. Five years later, almost 100% of tsunami debris and nearly 99% of industrial waste have been cleaned, with approximately 80% of industrial waste and 100% of tsunami debris being recycled.

The Japanese Red Cross rapidly mobilized following the disaster to provide emergency medical care and psychosocial support. As part of the Psychosocial Support Program, Japanese Red Cross staff and volunteers provided support through health and social classes, including tea ceremonies. The Red Cross is continuing to help with the reconstruction of hospitals, schools, playgrounds and gymnasiums.

Canadians were quick to respond, donating about $48 million to the Red Cross, which helped support rebuilding and recovery in Japan.

Learn more about how Canadian Red Cross donors made a real and meaningful impact by reading our Japan Earthquake & Tsunami 5-year Donor Report