The American Red Cross has announced an additional $30 million commitment to relief and recovery efforts in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern region of the country in March.
The contribution boosts total funding from the Red Cross for relief and recovery efforts to nearly $200 million, including $4.5 million in text donations. Donations from Americans to the Red Cross have helped support relief assistance distributed through more than two thousand evacuation shelters in the devastated region as well as the medical operation mounted by the Japanese Red Cross, which has involved nearly six hundred emergency medical teams. In addition, funds are being used to help outfit prefabricated homes with a package of electrical appliances, which will help an estimated 280,000 people resume normal activities and jump-start the country's recovery.
In late April, American Red Cross president and CEO Gail McGovern spent four days in Japan traveling the affected areas, meeting with survivors, and learning how American donations have and will be used. While she was there, McGovern discussed with Japanese Red Cross officials opportunities to help build a temporary hospital in the Ishinomaki area, where all but one of the local hospitals suffered tsunami damage. The proposed prefabricated hospital would have one hundred beds and would reduce some of the stress on the single remaining facility until more permanent facilities can be rebuilt or repaired.
"It has been very gratifying for me to see the generosity of our country firsthand and the impact that it is having," said McGovern. "Despite all of the destruction that we witnessed, it's really quite amazing to know that you are part of an organization, a movement, around the world that can make a difference."