In response to the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March, The Rotary Foundation has established the Rotary Japan 2011 Disaster Recovery Fund, which will support long-term recovery projects in affected areas.
Rotarians and non-Rotarians can donate online. Clubs and districts can contribute cash and District Designated Fund (DDF) allocations to the fund.
The 9.0-magnitude quake, Japan’s largest in history, and the tsunami that followed it caused widespread devastation, paralyzing much of the northern coast. More than 10,000 people have been killed, and thousands are missing. Millions have been left without clean water or power, and at least 550,000 people have been forced from their homes.
A series of explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 140 miles northeast of Tokyo, damaged reactors and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands. The Japanese government is working to contain the situation. Damage from the earthquake and tsunami is estimated at US$170 billion.
RI President-nominee Sakuji Tanaka, of the Rotary Club medicine20 of Yashio, Saitama, was in Lisbon, Portugal, on Rotary business during the disasters. He was able to reach his wife, Kyoko, on the phone to confirm her safety.
“She said it was the most horrifying experience she’d ever had,” says Tanaka. “The northern region of Japan is still in chaos. We are unsure when this chaos will end or when things will get better. However, I am most thankful to know that Rotarians around the world care for us.”
Japanese RI directors Masaomi Kondo and Masahiro Kuroda, as well as staff at Rotary International’s Japan office, are confirmed to be safe.
Rotary clubs and districts worldwide are mobilizing efforts to bring urgently needed aid to victims.
“I’ve received many messages from Rotarians all over the world,” says Noriko Futagami, the Public Image Resource Group coordinator for Zone 2. “I also have reports that Rotary clubs have begun to start planning projects for immediate help. Unfortunately, there are many Rotarians and families who haven’t been able to be contacted. Rotarians in Japan worry for their safety.”