Thousands Support Habitat For Humanity’s Response In Earthquake-Hit Japan

April 12th, 2011

Many Register As Volunteers To Help With Clean-Up And Repairs; Others Make Donations

Members of Habitat for Humanity’s assessment team witnessed scenes of devastation in Iwate prefecture’s Rikuzentakata city (top) and Ofunato city (middle); volunteers mobilized by Peace Boat, a Japanese non-governmental organization, helped with the clean-up of debris as well as relief work.

TOKYO, 12th April 2011: Thousands of people have responded to Habitat for Humanity’s appeal for funds and volunteers to help with the earthquake and tsunami response in Japan.

One month on from the disaster, the death toll stands at over 13,000, with more than 15,000 people still missing.

The scale of the devastation, the severe weather and the unfolding nuclear situation meant that the search and rescue phase of emergency operation continued for several weeks and has only just been lifted.

Habitat for Humanity teams have returned from conducting an assessment of affected areas and will be presenting response operation details shortly.

Habitat expects to mobilize local volunteers to work with other organizations in the clean-up and repair process, targeting communities severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Habitat for Humanity International, together with HFH Japan, are liaising with government authorities and other organizations, and expect their response operation to last one-and-a-half years.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on 11th March was the fourth worst earthquake in the world since recordings began in 1900.

The earthquake created extremely large tsunami waves of up to 10 meters (33 feet) that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some cases travelling up to 10 kilometers (six miles) inland. Frequent aftershocks, some very strong, have continued to batter the country.

The earthquake struck 130 kilometers east of Sendai city, Japan, and this, plus the subsequent tsunami, wrought massive destruction along the Pacific coastline of Japan’s northern islands.

HFH Japan is the Japanese chapter of Habitat for Humanity International. HFH Japan has been working in Japan for ten years and sends hundreds of volunteers overseas to help build and repair homes for low-income families every year.

HFH Japan raises funds to support house building in developing countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and post-disaster reconstruction around the world.

Habitat for Humanity International is a global non-government organization that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than two million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit