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Longtime charitable partner Mercy Corps has joined an international response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Mercy Corps will work with Peace Winds, which already has teams on the ground to provide assistance for survivors.
In the evening of Monday, March 14 (Japan Standard Time), the first Peace Winds team arrived in Kesennuma, a city of approximately 70,000 people in Miyagi Prefecture that was largely destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami.
The team brought shelter materials that can house up to 100 people as well as 30 smaller tents that can hold up to five people each. Making multiple trips via two helicopters, the team is working with locals to erect the tents and provide immediate shelter. They are battling heavy wind conditions that make setting up the tents even more challenging. The transport of tents started one day after a four-person Peace Winds team traveling to the quake zone via helicopter noted a lack of shelter for families evacuated from Kesennuma.
Peace Winds will work closely with the headquarters for disaster control in Kesennuma City to assess the needs of survivors and provide needed food and materials and then transport relief materials by road as well as helicopter.
Mercy Corps plans to coordinate their response with Peace Winds to determine what staff and skills are most needed. Both agencies say that their first priority will be to provide life-saving basics to help people in desperate need.
The two organizations cooperated to provide humanitarian assistance to the massive 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, which required a large-scale and complicated logistical operation, and in the US Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
GreaterGood.org has supported Mercy Corps' humanitarian efforts around the world, including recent grants for the victims of the 2010 floods in Pakistan, and provided funding for Mercy Corps' food programs.