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Tsunami Disaster Relief

Tsunami in Japan

On March 11, 2011 an earthquake measuring 9.0 magnitude was followed by a massive tsunami in northeastern Japan, washing away entire communities in coastal areas. The extent of the devastation is still being revealed, and the death toll has surpassed 10,000. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced or living without water and electricity.

The worst affected areas are Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibraki and Chiba prefectures, in which 1.6 million people live within 5 kilometers of the coast. Many of these communities remain stranded by tsunami-related flooding. 

Japan has been a valuable contributor to UNICEF's relief efforts on behalf of children worldwide, and UNICEF was prepared to do anything and everything to support the children of Japan during this crisis.

Immediately after the disaster in Japan, UNICEF and partners provided:

  • Recreation kits and children's underwear;
  • School supplies for children starting a new term in April;
  • Safe drinking water for Fuskushima and Miyagi prefectures;

In addition, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) contributed $500,000 toward earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan to UNICEF and will be encouraging baseball fans to support the effort in stadiums across the country. 

2004 South Asia tsunami and humanitarian aid

On December 26, 2004 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake unleashed massive tidal waves across South Asia. Powerful tsunamis slammed into the coasts of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Seychelles, and Somalia, devastating thousands of miles of coastline – and the communities that depended on them.

The tsunami wiped away homes, schools, and health facilities; it demolished roads, bridges and power lines; it irrevocably altered the lives of millions of people. Tragically, more than 1/3 of the estimated 230,000 tsunami deaths were among children.

UNICEF was on the ground in the affected region at the time of the tsunami disaster and went to work immediately to provide lifesaving humanitarian relief to the survivors. In the weeks after the disaster, UNICEF teams provided clean water and sanitation as well as immunizations and supplementary feeding for children at risk of disease and malnutrition.

In the years since the South Asia tsunami, UNICEF-supported programs have helped transform the tsunami-affected communities, helping them to build back better. UNICEF-led tsunami reconstruction efforts have greatly improved basic services like health, education and sanitation, but also enhanced security and disaster-preparedness in these regions that are so vulnerable to natural disasters.

Tsunami Relief News Stories

March 13, 2013

Two Years after Tsunami in Japan, UNICEF Support Continues

It has been two years since the Japan Committee for UNICEF extended its support to children in Japan affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami. At the outset, workers distributed drinking water, clothing, and other supplies, and provided healthcare services along with support for reopening schools. A highlight of the earthquake recovery support has been the rebuilding of schools and care facilities for young children. Today, children are enjoying their time at these facilities — kindergartens, nursery schools and after-school care centers.

December 15, 2011

UNICEF at 65: Looking back, thinking ahead

On December, 11 UNICEF celebrated its 65th anniversary. Created in 1946 from the residual resources from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to secure the fate of Europe’s children, few then imagined that it would still be in existence today. Principles of equity were part of UNICEF's guiding vision from the very day of its creation and form part of its mission statement.



2013 Humanitarian Action Report

Click here to view the Humanitarian Action Report, or right click to save it to your desktop.

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