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Two Year Anniversary of Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami


Today marks the second anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, also known as the Great East Japan Earthquake.  The disaster, which involved a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami wave, cost the lives of over 16,000 people with almost 3,000 reported as missing.  The infrastructural damage caused by the earthquake and the tsunami amounted to tens of billions of dollars.


While schools, roads, or power lines can be easily rebuilt, the disaster left a much more long-lasting effect in the Fukushima Prefecture, where the tsunami wave led to a triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  The meltdown was the second largest in human history after Chernobyl, and left thousands of people fleeing deadly radiation in its immediate aftermath.


Two years later, the tragedy of the Fukushima Prefecture residents is far from over.  The Japanese people have been struggling with the material hardships and health problems caused by the calamity.  The media, local and international non profits, as well as the victims themselves report that the Japanese government has displayed a glaring lack of transparency with regard to health risks associated with the radiation and the current technical status of the affected nuclear reactors.  As a result, many victims have been forced not only to struggle for their day-to-day survival but also to fight for their basic civil rights. 


Inadequate compensation as well as contradictory and misleading radiation level reports are only some examples of the issues Fukushima refugees need to face on a daily basis.


The high level of mistrust towards the Japanese authorities among the affected residents has provided a fertile ground for the emergence of local nonprofits that assist the local population in satisfying their basic needs and fighting for transparency.  The disaster itself also gave a momentum to anti-nuclear groups.


Organizations that provide material, psychological and medical assistance to refugees, offer safe bottled water to children and expectant mothers, foster international cooperation on the relief efforts and local community development, educate the public on nuclear energy, and support young  victims’ education through grants and scholarships seek to make the life post-Fukushima at least a little easier to the thousands affected by the meltdown.  More established international organizations like Greenpeace and International Medical Corps are also on the ground providing much-needed assistance.  Together, all these groups are creating a vibrant network of non profits that complement the work of the Japanese government in alleviating the tremendous tragedy that touched Fukushima two years ago. 


Please visit our media gallery to learn more about nonprofit activities in the region.