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info [Press Release] Joint Review Report on Humanitarian Response to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Now Available in English

October 27, 2014

JANIC Announces New Report on Relief Activities Following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami

With analysis of survey involving 622 participants including NGO staff, government officials and aid recipients, and recommendations based on lessons learned that are relevant for future disasters at home and abroad

 The Tokyo-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC), which supports Japanese NGOs that work overseas, today announces the launch of the English edition of its special report on relief activities in the last three years following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 The report includes assessment of these activities and summarizes key lessons on disaster preparedness and on how to respond effectively to large-scale disasters both in Japan and overseas.

 Given the fact that there is little precedence for reports jointly reviewing or evaluating emergency humanitarian assistance, JANIC has implemented assessment according to the evaluation criteria developed by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) *1, and internationally recognized indicators for quality and accountability in the field of humanitarian aid.

 It is hoped that this report will be shared among those involved in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance activities in Japan and overseas by NGO and international organizations, and that it will be used as reference for joint assessment or evaluation.

 What is unique about this report is that its recommendations are based on input from 622 survey participants who represent both the providers and recipients of aid.

 JANIC conducted in-depth review for about eight months starting July last year, gathering feedback from various stakeholders in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefecture: representatives of 120 local organizations and 169 other organizations working in the affected areas, as well as 270 aid recipients.

 The outcome of the review also brought to light such specific concerns as the lack of assistance for the elderly and foreigners, and the lack of self-motivation on the part of the aid recipients due to dependence on assistance.

 The survey results have been analyzed according to 16 indicators selected from existing international evaluation standards*2 that take into account such principles as equitable coverage of the affected areas and populations and "Do No Harm" to aid recipients. Based on these standards, which are commonly used in the field of humanitarian aid, the report considers critical questions about relief activities, such as "were the local needs properly reflected on assistance programs?"

 Such analysis has helped identify the factors that may have prevented smooth implementation of relief activities, and the solutions for addressing those problems in a way that reflects the needs of the aid recipients.

 In addition, the last chapter of the report includes recommendations on capacity building for civil society organizations, and explains how ongoing support for those affected by the disaster can be offered from organizations operating outside of the affected areas.

 It is expected that the recommendations from this report will be incorporated into the "Post-Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2)", which will serve as the international standard for disaster relief activities in the coming decades, to be adopted at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction*3 to be held in March 2015, Sendai, Japan.

 It is with the hope that this report will contribute to building more resilient communities in Japan and around the world that JANIC shares these review insights and lessons for responding to large-scale disasters.

More about the Report and about JANIC
 Shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011, JANIC established the Taskforce for Disaster Response in order to support the international NGOs working in the affected areas, as well as to provide assistance for the survivors.

 The taskforce has focused on the following five areas: disseminating information, facilitating relief activities, conducting advocacy and networking, providing assistance in Fukushima, and helping improve disaster preparedness.

 Four members of JANIC's staff (including three from the Taskforce for Disaster Response and one from the PR team) have worked in collaboration with Oriental Consultants Co., Ltd. since May 2013 in order to compile the Joint Review Report. The team has chosen to release the report in 2014, which marks the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, as many organizations are concluding their relief activities in the affected areas.

*1 "Development Assistance Committee (DAC)": One of the committees of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is an international economic organization focused on economic progress and world trade. DAC is an international forum working to promote development cooperation and aid in developing countries.
*2 "International Evaluation Standards": For the Joint Review Report, we have used existing standards including the "DAC Evaluation Criteria" by the OECD and the "Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) Standard," which serves as accountability guidelines for humanitarian relief organizations working with crisis-affected people.
*3 "UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction": A global conference focused on disaster risk reduction, which brings together government leaders and UN organizations. Japan has hosted the conference twice in the past: in Yokohama (1994) and in Kobe (2005). The 2015 conference will be held in Sendai.

Detail of Press Release (392KB)

Contents of the report

Forward OHASHI Masaaki, Chairperson, JANIC
Summary Summary of the Joint Review Report
Chapter 1.
Project Outline
Background, Objectives, and Review Methodologies
(1) literature review; (2) peer-review workshops (four workshops with a total of 115 participants representing 90 organizations); (3) questionnaires (with a total of 415 respondents, 77 of whom represented aid organizations and 68 local organizations. The remaining 270 respondents were aid recipients); (4) in-person interviews of 56 key informants; (5) four focus group discussion sessions with 36 participants. Overall, 622 people have been part of the review process.
Chapter 2.
Damage Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and major relief activities
Scope of Disaster Damage and Evacuation Situations
Five main characteristics of the affected areas by the earthquake and tsunami - (1) disaster in the developed-nation context; (2) aging and sparsely populated communities; (3) local governments affected by the disaster; (4) assistance needed in a widespread area; and (5) additional challenges caused by the nuclear accident and radiation pollution ? and an overview of the NGOs, businesses, and individuals involved in relief activities in the affected areas.
Chapter 3.
The survey results were assessed according to the following ten themes and relevant 16 indicators.
<●Themes - ■associated indicators>
●Assistance that meets local needs provided? - ■Relevance
●Comprehensive assistance provided? - ■Coverage ■Gender equality ■Special support
●Assistance brought any further damage to the people? - ■Coping strategies and resilience ■Do no harm
●Accountability to beneficiaries fulfilled? - ■Establishing and delivering on commitments
●Opinions of the local stakeholders considered and reflected? - ■Handling complaints ■Participation
●Review and improvement constantly made? - ■Learning and continual improvement
●Short-term assistance led to long-term assistance? - ■Connectedness
●Staff's safety secured? - ■Health,safety and security
●Organizations had enough capacities? - ■Human resources and management ■Funding base
●Collaborated and Cooperated well with other organizations? - ■Information sharing and coordination ■Collaboration
Chapter 4.
Recommendations for future capacity development of civil society organizations
Recommendations for Future Capacity Building for Civil Society Organizations
Recommendations based on the analysis of the joint review, organized in eleven categories including project management, needs assessment, disaster preparedness (e.g. manuals for relief activities), PR, and information dissemination.
Additional Resources
Further information on review results including survey data.

Summary of the report

Title The Great East Japan Earthquake
Joint Review Report on Relief Activities by the Civil Society
? from the Perspective of NGOs for International Cooperation ?
Edited and Published By Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)
Publication Date October 27, 2014  URL: (PDF:4.76 MB)
*Japanese edition published on May 26, 2014
URL: (PDF: 8.96 MB)
Report Objectives To share lessons learned from the experiences of civil society organizations (particularly international NGOs) working on relief activities in the affected areas by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, to provide insights into the challenges faced by these organizations, and to contribute to improving future response and to building more resilient communities in Japan and around the world.
Sponsored By Give2Asia
Length 147 pages

Media Contact
Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)
TEL:03-5292-2911 FAX:03-5292-2912

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