Japan Earthquake Anniversary reminds Canadians to prepare for disasters

OTTAWA, March 9, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Red Cross is calling for greater investment in local preparedness initiatives one year after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the coast of Japan. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake, massive tsunami, and Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, killed more than 15,000 people, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The earthquake also triggered a tsunami warning for British Columbia and areas across the Pacific Rim.

"The scope of this disaster, especially considering Japan was one of the world's best-prepared countries, was massive," says Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "We are encouraged by the positive impact Canadian donations have and continue to have in Japan however, the anniversary reminds us of the need for Canadian communities to better prepare for emergencies."

The Canadian Red Cross has responded to over 1,750 separate incidents in Canada since April 2011, and provided services to over 35,700 individuals affected by natural and human-caused emergencies across the country.

"The impressive humanitarian response in Japan is the result of considerable investment and planning," adds Sauvé. " Greater investment by Canadian individuals, humanitarian organizations and governments is needed to ensure Canada is prepared for a large-scale emergency."

Canadian households and communities can take simple but effective steps to prepare for disasters. Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours after an emergency and for up to two weeks in a health emergency like a pandemic. Learn the risks and hazards in your community; make a family emergency plan; and get or make an emergency preparedness kit. More information on planning for emergencies is available at www.redcross.ca/prepare.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 187 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

For further information:

Canadian Red Cross Media Line
(613) 740-1994