After Major Earthquake and Tsunami, International Medical Corps DeploysEmergency Response Team to Japan
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
In Los Angeles:Margaret AguirreDirector of Global Communicationsmaguirre@InternationalMedicalCorps.org 310.826.7800
March 12, 2011, Los Angeles, Calif. –
International Medical Corps has deployed an emergency responseteam to Japan, following an 8.9‐magnitude earthquake that struck Japan’s coast, triggering a tsunamithat devastated northern parts of the country and put a tsunami warning in effect for much of thePacific.
“We are putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan andother affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities,” said Nancy Aossey, President &CEO, International Medical Corps. “While Japan has a large capacity to manage a disaster of this scale,we will respond as needed.”On Saturday, a nuclear power plant in northern Japan exploded, compounding the crisis. Caused by abuild‐up of pressure in the reactor after the cool system failed, the explosion destroyed the concretestructure around the reactor, but the steel container inside was undamaged, which likely prevented alarger leak of radioactive material. While the level of radiation leaked is unknown, the evacuation areasurrounding the facility was expanded to 12 miles.The earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. Tokyo time, triggering a tsunami that buried many northern towns ina wall of water. Japanese news media report that between 1,300 and 1,700 people were killed, butmuch of the north is still inaccessible. It has been described as the largest earthquake on record forJapan. Aftershocks continue to shake the country, with a second large earthquake of 7.4‐magnitude.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put a warning in effect for much of the Pacific Ocean, stating thatthe tsunami could affect Russia, Taiwan, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea,and Australia. The agency later added the west coasts of the United States, Mexico, Central America,and South America as areas that could see tidal surges.Tsunami waves of 2.5 feet were reported in Indonesia, while the Midway Islands registered a wave of approximately five feet. In Hawaii, coastal areas were evacuated and surges of roughly four feet werereported. All countries report only minor damage.Thousands in the tsunami zone are without water, heat, electricity, or phone service, and some areashave been entirely cut off. On Friday, President Barack Obama said the United States was ready to helphowever needed.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 andPakistan floods.
Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relievethe suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care