JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI: Immediate Response and Recovery Projects

On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 earthquake struck Japan. The most powerful recorded earthquake in Japan’s history struck 250 miles north-east of Tokyo—and generated a 10-metre-high tsunami that swept away everything in its path, triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami alert and raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe from damaged power plants.


The Japanese National Police Agency confirmed 14,981 deaths, 5,279 injured and 9,880 people missing across eighteen prefectures, as well as over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. The main tremor split highways, flattened buildings and ignited fires all over the northeastern Pacific coast. The ensuing tsunami wiped out entire villages.


As many as 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water. Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen gas that had built up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure. Residents within a 12 mile radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant were evacuated.


Prime Minister Naoto Kan described it as the country’s worst crisis since World War II.


Operation USA began immediately working to address needs for material aid in the face of the enormous damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, with a focus on shelter and medical supplies. Staged disaster supplies were prepped and dispatched from OpUSA’s Port of Los Angeles warehouse—distributed through on the ground partner agencies in Japan.


With an onslaught of cold winter weather following the disaster, the first shipment of a $1.1 million donation of Gap brand winter clothing was distributed to tens of thousands of recipients in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.


Operation USA is focusing its long-term efforts on a recovery project in Ofunato, a coastal city located in Iwate Prefecture. The project will focus on the needs of the elderly community in this tsunami-impacted city.


Operation USA takes the intention of our donors seriously. All funds raised that have been specifically designated to support our work in Japan will be spent on Japan relief.


Generous corporate support and in-kind donations have been provided by:

California Community Foundation
Cascade Designs
Etón USA
The Gap
Honeywell Hometown Solutions
Kaiser Permanente
Manitha Neyam Trust
Pelican Products, Inc.
United Airlines


Local partners include:
Peace Winds Japan
Second Harvest