Tsunami response: Oxfam Japan to fund two partners helping mothers and babies, and non-Japanese nationals

Emergencies article written on the 16 Mar 2011

Photo: REUTERS/KYODO Kyodo, courtesy Trust.org

Image courtesy www.trust.org

Oxfam Japan is appealing for public donations for two partner organizations, one that is assisting mothers and babies and the other providing information to non-Japanese speakers living in Japan.

Japan is one of the most advanced nations in the world in dealing with natural disasters and has accepted international help in only a few specific areas. It is important that ad-hoc efforts to help do not undermine the coordination of the state’s overall relief efforts, especially now that explosions in a nuclear facility and radiation levels are complicating efforts to assist those affected from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“The Japanese state has the means to reach 99% of the population but there will always be some who need more specific assistance,” said Oxfam Japan head Akiko Mera from Tokyo.

Ms Mera said that Oxfam Japan will channel funds to the Japan Organization for International Cooperation on Family Planning (JOICFP). Together with the Japanese Midwives’ Association and local doctors, the groups with help breast-feeding mothers by providing them with privacy and their babies with diapers and other products. They are offering counseling to women under high stress.

Another partner – the multi-language centre FACIL – is helping non-Japanese speaking nationals living in affected areas. FACIL was set up as a response to the Kobe earthquake in 1995. It has set up a hotline for people to get information and is translating and re-publishing information put out by local authorities. There are an estimated 40,000 non-Japanese speakers in affected areas.

Most international NGOs like Oxfam are standing-by to assist on the invitation of leading local authorities, and are otherwise providing specialist help as described here.

Oxfam Japan will also explore work with other partners in the future. Oxfam Japan is primarily an advocacy organization. Its Tokyo offices were damaged in the quake but none of its staff were hurt.

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Read more about our initial response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami