Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Service tools


A Japanese delegation in Brussels. Photo credit: EU/ECHO

What were the needs?

On 11 March 2011, north-eastern Japan was struck by the most powerful earthquake in its history. The subsequent tsunami devastated dozens of villages and towns along the coast, resulting in more than 20 000 dead, missing and injured. The double disaster incurred damage to units of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Faced with the enormous challenge of tackling three disasters in one,  on 15 March the government of Japan requested assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Blankets, tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, gloves, protective suits, water containers and power generators were among the items most needed in the first weeks after the disasters.

How did we help?

The EU provided coordinated assistance and ensured the prompt delivery of the help needed to save lives. In 7 shipments, almost 400 tons of in-kind assistance were channeled through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to Japan and distributed to the Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Tochigi and Yamagata Prefectures.

19 participating states in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism offered in-kind or financial assistance to Japan. Offers included about 122 000 blankets, 45 000 jerrycans and water tanks, 7 900 mattresses, sleeping bags, pumps and power generators. The Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) compiled offers of assistance and coordinated the logistics of its delivery.

A European Civil Protection team of 15 members, including experts in logistics and radiology, coordinated the distribution of the assistance on the ground and maintained the liaison with the Japanese authorities.

Additionally,  the European Commission provided the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) with €10 million to distribute relief items to evacuees and others in need in Japan, in partnership with the Japanese Red Cross. European financial aid targeted families in the worst affected provinces.

Last updated