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ShelterBox Response Team member arrives in Japan

12/03/2011
The crisis in Japan continues to grow as fires rage and water sweeps away thousands of homes. The earthquake, which is the largest to have struck Japan in recorded history, has killed many people and left thousands of families homeless.

Mark Pearson, a ShelterBox Response Team member (SRT), has already arrived in country and is expected to be joined by three more highly trained SRTs in the next couple of days.

‘We’re facing a unique set of circumstances dealing with the affects of an earthquake and a tsunami’ said Mark. ‘Our efforts will initially be focussed on Japan’s north where the worst affected areas are. We have aid ready to move as soon as we establish where the greatest need is.’

Mark led ShelterBox’s response to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, and the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods in 2010. He was in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti, less than 36 hours after the earthquake. He says the lessons learnt there will be essential.

‘When you arrive in a country in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, you have to be prepared to operate quickly, effectively, making the right decisions under pressure,’ he said.

‘One of the biggest challenges facing us in Japan will be the logistics of reaching the affected area. The north-east of the country is a very remote area and with the infrastructure being either damaged or wiped-out, it’s going to be a real battle to find out where the greatest need lies.’

The team will work tirelessly to assess the worst affected areas and ensure that aid reaches the families most in need.