On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. This offshore quake triggered a tsunami that wiped away entire villages on the Northern shore of Japan north of Tokyo. To add to the devastation, the earthquake damaged infrastructure supporting the Fukishima nuclear reactor facility putting a large zone at risk of nuclear contamination. The Japanese refer to these events as the Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake-Tsunami, or more broadly – the March 11 disaster.
The people of the Tohoku region of northern Japan are in desperate need of the most basic elements of survival. As of March 21st 2011, Japanese government sources reported to the media that more than 1.3 million Japanese were without access to food or clean drinking water and more than 500,000 thousand citizens were left without homes. The disruption to the infrastructure has left many without food, water, shelter, fuel or communications. Current reports exceed 10,000 dead and another 11,000 missing with hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.
Given the extent of the damage, official responses have been and will continue to be directed to the largest concentrations of population or along major lines of communication.
Our mission is to locate a village in Iwate Prefecture outside of the government’s ability to assist or rebuild and establish a base camp from which we can provide hope and save lives in the form of warm food, clean water, electricity, temporary shelter as needed to that village and surrounding villages. In addition we will set up a social area where people can relax, charge cell phones, enjoy a warm meal, play a board game, and otherwise provide relief from the burden of this disaster.
The mission was conceived by Keith Miller, PhD, a director of international schools who has lived in Japan for over 15 years. Dr. Miller contacted his longtime friend and former military colleague, Alfred Werner, a technology entrepreneur, to put together a plan and a team to provide relief to Japan.
We will have our first ‘feet on the ground’ as of April 2. This first team will coordinate final purchase of supplies and vehicles outside the stricken area, to be met by the second team arriving April 9 to drive into Iwate and setup base camp. Over the following months volunteers will be arriving to staff the base camp, prepare meals, deliver water, and build shelter. These volunteers come largely from the Philadelphia PA Burning Man community, who have expressed a strong desire to help in any way possible.
To achieve our goals, we anticipate the following purchases:
Water truck, or large truck to deliver potable water; motorcycle for offroad access, personal vehicle donated for team use. Two 7500 Watt generators and fuel cans/drums. Field kitchen including propane rice cookers griddles and stoves, sinks, pots/pans, reusable eating ware for 250 people. Building and demolition tools and supplies including chainsaws, wrecking bars, portable power tools, screws, lumber, etc. Air travel for volunteers.
We estimate initial setup costs at approximately $40,000 US dollars. Running the kitchen to provide 3 hot meals a day for 250 people at $1 per day will cost $22,500 per month and our ability to raise money will determine how long we can continue our efforts.