Water-Survival boxes, dispatched.





























Japan Earthquake and Tsunami   2011


The Great East Japan Earthquake measuring 9.0-on the Richter scale occurred off the coast of Japan on Friday, 11 March 2011 and was the most powerful known earthquake to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world overall since modern record-keeping began in 1900 . The earthquake triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 37.9 meters (124 ft) that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some cases traveling up to 10 km (6 mi) inland, with smaller waves reaching many other countries after several hours. Tsunami warnings were issued and evacuations ordered along Japan's Pacific coast and at least 20 other countries, including the entire Pacific coast of the Americas. As at 25 April there are 14,133 confirmed  deaths,  5,304 injured, and 13,346 people missing across eighteen prefectures, as well as over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe structural damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse. Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water. Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen gas that had built up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure.
Japan is located on the Pacific ring of fire and has a history of earthquakes and tsunamis for which the authorities had prepared detailed emergency plans including substantial coastal defences. However, the size and scale of this disaster overwhelmed even the tallest barriers with the results already described.
On 11 March, an e-mail was sent to the District Governors covering the Rotary Districts centred on Fukushima and Sendai (the areas worst affected) offering Water-Survival Boxes. Having received no response on 12 March a similar message was sent to 30 other District Governors covering the whole of Honshu and Kyushu islands. The first response came on 13 March and indicated that the areas without potable water were being catered for by way of water tanker and distribution of water-purification kits by armed forces personnel. On 14 March an operational team from Humanity First UK arrived in Sendai and informed the Japanese authorities of the availability of Water-Survival Boxes but were told they would not be needed.

However, three weeks after the disaster Hatsuo Tsukahara, District Governor 2800 (Yamagata) made e-mail contact and advised that as communications were being restored and a clearer picture was emerging there was a need for WSBs for families left homeless and without access to clean water in the Fukushima area (outside the 20 km exclusion zone from the Fukushima nuclear reactors). His District was some 80 km inland of Fukushima and in a position to take responsibility for receipt and distribution. The request for 100 standard WSBs was rapidly agreed and on 7 April the consignment left our depot in Somerset. It was loaded onto a Japan Airlines passenger flight on 8 April *, landed at Narita airport (Tokyo) on 9 April, and released by customs for collection within 90 minutes of arrival. The next morning DG Tsukahara and two Rotarian colleagues collected the boxes and took them the 250 km north for distribution see picture (DG Tsukahara is in the centre)


WorldWaterWorks Limited is a Registered Charity sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge. For more information see www.worldwaterworks.org or call 01761-409115.