On 11 March, a massive earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, struck Japan’s north-east coast. Then came the tsunami. I felt strong tremors and watched the first television pictures of the remorseless wave breaching our coastal defences and sweeping ships, cars and burning houses across the land. When I reached the disaster area, I was confronted with devastation that defies imagination. This was one of the very worst. The destruction was absolute.
In living memory, this is the first time that the world has experienced such a complex emergency involving tsunami, earthquake and nuclear risks. We need time to process what has happened, although one thing is certain: the thousands of families swept away by the waves are a claim on our conscience.
Japan’s road to recovery will be a long one. But we are deeply touched by the sympathy and goodwill shown across the world. The only response to such tragedy, in the end, is mutual aid and a global spirit of togetherness – in my country, in your country, and in all others. I sincerely appreciate all of your support in the past, the present and the generous help offered for the future. In return for such encouragements, our nation will steadily prove its resilience. And the Red Cross Red Crescent will always stand by those in need.