Japan: Why does CARE respond in a developed country?


Katsuhiko Takeda, National Director, CARE Japan

March 2, 2012

Japan: Why does CARE respond in a developed country? image 1

"CARE's vision is to fight against worldwide poverty and to protect and enhance human dignity. CARE Japan decided to respond to this disaster to protect and enhance human dignity of the affected population. Mega disasters, even in developed contexts, can leave people with absolutely nothing in the immediate aftermath, push self-sufficient populations into poverty, eradicate years of development and threaten people's right to life with dignity. Today, I can firmly say: If the same scale of earthquake hits Japan, we'll respond again. This is a firm commitment shared among all the staff of CARE Japan.

CARE Japan has decided to run our psychosocial program until June 2013.One year has passed since the earthquake and tsunami. Temporary housing compounds have been built. Many more stores are restarting their business. And, newly developed local organizations are now playing a major role in initiating recovery efforts. Still, the psychosocial effects of the disaster remain present. Many of the survivors are struggling to overcome the events of March 11. "I sometime do nothing but keep watching TV which is not showing anything," told an elderly lady who wanted to be anonymous to a CARE staff at a community café CARE supports.

CARE had completed the food program in June 2011, and now focuses more on community relief and psychosocial support to help people recover from the trauma. The needs of the people in the affected area will shift as the time passes. CARE continues to coordinate with local authorities and other aid agencies in order to identify the needs and reach the most vulnerable people."