Filed under: International Medical Corps Worldwide

“When we arrived, we found that the village had virtually nothing”: Global Giving Partners

Leave a Comment April 7, 2011

I want to start this post off by introducing a great organization: I am sure many of our readers are aware of this site already, but it is a nonprofit organization that aims to “build an efficient, open, thriving marketplace that connects people who have community and world-changing ideas with people who can support them”. It links the donors to excellent grassroots organizations, and allows for the donors to track what the organizations are doing with their money with regular updates on their site.

After the Japan earthquake/tsunami, Global Giving has set up their own fund, as well as other projects that donors can directly donate to. See how to donate to them at the DONATE TO JAPAN link at the top of our page.

The rest of this post will share a personal story by one of the volunteers, as well as introduce the efforts of some of the organizations that Global Giving is endorsing that we have not reported on yet.

Here’s a list of all of Global Giving’s partners:

Association of Medical Doctors of Asia
Peace Winds
Japan Platform
Save the Children
Telecom for Basic Human Needs
International Medical Corps
Japanese Emergency NGOs
Civic Force
Association for Aid and Relief
Lifeline Energy
Architecture for Humanity

You can see what they have done by navigating with the category links on the right.

International Medical Corps helping in Ogotsu

This touching story that was posted by a volunteer, John Ferguson in International Medical Corps.

When we arrived, we found that the village had virtually nothing.

Roughly 75 percent of the town had been completely destroyed by the tsunami; 1,300 people are living in 16 evacuation sites, some of which house as many as 600 people. Electricity is available only at sites that have generators, and cell phone service is still out.   On top of this, 50 percent of Ogotsu’s population is older than 60, creating a need for consistent medical care and management of chronic illnesses…

The next day, we woke up determined to get what they needed. We bought two washing machines, two water tanks, laundry detergent, hangers, plates, and chopsticks and hit the road back to Ogotsu, where we were directed to one of the 16 evacuation centers.

When we got there, people poured out to see us. A group of ladies soon surrounded me and asked me all kinds of questions. I told them I was from American and came to help.   Then one of the ladies said she had lost her daughter to the tsunami. Another woman said she had lost her house and her cat.

Despite their tragic losses, the women were all smiles and giggles. One of the women reminded me that laughter was the best medicine of all, not just for them, but for everyone involved, including me.

I wanted to share this story because I want those who supported our emergency relief efforts in Japan to know that,  because of their support, we were not only able to provide the people of Ogatsu with what they needed, but were also able to give them something priceless – hope. They know now that the world cares and is trying to help.

And there is no better gift than that.

(quoted directly from their blog post)

You can read more on what they have done in yesterday’s blog post.

Telecom for Basic Human Needs (BHN)

BHN borrowed an ambulance from a hospital that the head of the organization ran, and sent doctors, nurses, and a telecommunications specialist to Natori-city, Miyagi. At the farm house that the staff stayed at for a night, the staff received rice from the farmer to donate to the people there. After meeting with doctors from Tohoku International Clinic, the team took care of 100 or so patients within the week. Ito, the telecommunications specialist, stayed behind to help out; he was from Ibaragi himself, and his house was affected by the earthquake.The doctors are continuing to go around the severely affected areas in the ambulance to see those who need medical help.

Also, they have released a statement that they will start providing temporary internet facilities near Iwate prefecture to provide aid for the local government there. You can see their website here.

Lifeline Energy

This organization is distributing 15,000 Polaris  all-in-one radio, light and cell-phone chargers by early April. This will be extremely important for the people in remote places who still do not have access to current information; the survivors will be able to use the radio to get more information about support services, radiation levels, and other crucial things. The light and phone charger will also help where electricity is still not at its full capability. More updates will presumably come after the Polaris have been distributed. Read more about them here.

Architecture for Humanity

Not many immediate updates yet, as they will enter Japan and start building once Japan transitions from the relief phase to the recovery phase in emergency rebuilding. However, they have already entered Sendai and is conducting door-to-door needs assessments to determine what is necessary to make the rebuilding process as smooth as possible. Not only will they build houses for the displaced, but will also work  with professionals to design safe and sustainable community buildings, health clinics, schools, and hospitals. Updates will be posted later on, and you can check their website here.

Please support Global Giving and all of their fantastic nonprofits partners by donating. Click here for our page on a compilation of donation options!

Addressing Mental Health a “Critical Need”

Leave a Comment April 6, 2011

While addressing the physical needs of survivors in the affected areas of Japan is at the forefront of many nonprofits, several have stepped up to focus on a potential injury that is not always immediately obvious: mental health.

International Medical Corps Worldwide

International Medical Corps (IMC) Worldwide is supporting psychological counseling services via telephone. IMC Worldwide, an organization that provides “vital health care that focus on training,” previously supplied mental health guidelines for assisting those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Their Emergency Response Team now turns to those affected on the “isolated coastal communities north of Sendai, including Ogatsu-machi, Minami-Sanriku, Kesennuma, Riken-Takata, East Matsushima, and areas north of Ishinomaki” and have assessed a that there is a “critical need” to address mental health.

From their website:

In these assessments, International Medical Corps has identified mental health as a critical need, as fatigue, stress, and insomnia are reported among many evacuees. An increasing number of children are developing asthma, mumps, and pneumonia in Minami-Sanriku evacuation centers, some of which is thought to be the result of stress. Meantime, high levels of anxiety are also prevalent outside of the affected areas as a result of radiation fears.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on quoting Dr. Mutsuo Ikuhara, who is traveling to Japan with IMC:

“I would still think there’s a lot of people in shock and coming to grips with the magnitude of the disaster,” he said. “The disaster seems to be changing moment by moment, so I’d imagine they’d be taking stock on how much damage occurred in terms of surface area and number of family and people affected.”

As the horrific event sinks in, however, Ikuhara said he expected to see people with more stress-related issues.

“Eventually when things stabilize when those life and death issues they’re going to be able to say ‘Oh my god I lost everything’ and that’s usually what affects all of us–that’s when emotions can take control,” he said.


In a trip to Haiti, Dr. Ikuhara witnessed many cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and trauma. Although he says that the Japanese might be viewed from the Western perspective as appearing “stoic,” he notes: “That doesn’t mean they’re not feeling badly.”

From the article (Kyodo News/AP).

Tokyo English Life Line and Peace Boat

IMC has partnered with both Tokyo English Life Line (TELL), an nonprofit that provides free confidential phone counseling (among other services) and Peace Boat, a nonprofit NGO based in Tokyo. IMC will provide training in “Psychological First Aid, computer equipment, and technical support” to bolster telephone counseling services with TELL, as well as help educate communities about available services through handouts and workshops. Peace Boat has been providing “hot meals, non-food items, cleaning services, and other community support activities” to those who are still living in their damaged homes. IMC will contribute “supplies, communications equipment, technology, logistical and possibly technical support in health promotion and reconstruction” to help enlarge Peace Boat’s efforts.

Footage of Peace Boat’s contributions from their website:

YouTube Preview Image

Donate toward Japan Relief and Recovery through the IMC here.
Donate or Volunteer with TELL.
Learn more about Peace Boat’s efforts in Japan, donate, and/or volunteer here.

Association of Medical Doctors of Asia

AMDA, who as of April 5th has dispatched a total of 114 relief personnel, has:

41 doctors, 20 nurses, 3 midwives, 1 assistant nurse, 3 pharmacists, 2 psychotherapists, 40 coordinators (including assistants and interpreters), and 4 careworkers, according to their most recent update.

An example of their mental health personnel being put to work is in Minamisanriku-cho in Miyagi Prefecture, based in Sizugawa Elementary School in Sanriku-cho, where “a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist in the team are treating those who have symptoms of stress or mental disorder.”

Photos from a recent AMDA update on their website (in English).

Stay updated with AMDA’s efforts and donate to them here.

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