11 MAR 2013
Japan earthquake two years on
Two years after the devastating earthquake hit northeast Japan, Oxfam and its local partners are continuing to assist thousands of vulnerable families with critical needs to rebuild lives.
Gender inequality in Japan’s society has traditionally put women in a disadvantaged position. Single mothers affected by this deadly earthquake, however, are in particular needs of assistance. The poverty rate of single parent household stands over 50% in the last 20 years clearly illustrates their plight.
Apart from providing psychosocial support to those women survivors recovered from the trauma, as well as providing training of gender based violence counselors in the affected areas, Oxfam and partners also developed capacity building and livelihoods programmes to help them set off a new life, such as:
- To provide vocational training or training to start small business;
- To strengthen self-help or advocacy network for mothers who fled from Fukushima to Tokyo; and,
- To advocate gender mainstreaming and disaster risk reduction policies in government level.
In the upcoming year, Oxfam and partners will also support women to gain better access to livelihood options, and ensure mainstreaming gender in reconstruction and disaster risk reduction policies.
On 11 March 2011, Japan was rocked by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the largest one in its recorded history, killing about 16,000 people and triggered a nuclear leak in Fukushima Perfecture.
After a rapid assessment on the ground, Oxfam immediately assisted pregnant women, mothers and immigrants with cash and food specific for their needs, and supplied food to small children. Besides, a hotline was created to provide counselling services for women who encountered gender based violence. Multi-lingual translation services, portable and solar-powered radio, and multi-lingual radio broadcasts, DVD, websites and leaflets were also provide to address the needs of ethnic minority people.
Oxfam is dedicated to fighting poverty and inequity worldwide. The international and independent development and humanitarian organisation tackles poverty in four main ways: sustainable development in poor communities, disaster relief, local and global advocacy, and education with Hong Kong youth. Established in Hong Kong in 1976, Oxfam Hong Kong is a founding member of Oxfam, an international confederation that has assisted poor people in 94 countries. Oxfam Hong Kong alone has supported poor people in over 70 countries/regions.