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Earthquake relief: World Vision to launch $10 million effort in Japan

Federal Way-based World Vision is planning a $10 million effort to assist Japan as the nation recovers from a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

A small team from World Vision is assessing the needs of residents in Sendai, a badly-damaged city on Japan's east coast. The proposed relief program, funded privately by World Vision donors, will last two years and focus on serving children, said Amy Parodi, media relations director.

Aside from collecting basic supplies like water, blankets, powdered milk and diapers, another goal is to address the psychological impact of a natural disaster. For example, the program would create child-friendly spaces for supervised playtime for children.

"We're really taking our lead from the government of Japan," Parodi said. "We will fit in where the government tells us they have a need."

A tsunami was triggered March 11 by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck off the northeast coast of Japan. The resulting tsunami has killed thousands of people, although a total number is unknown at this time. Dramatic online footage shows the flood waters sweeping through city streets, carrying vehicles and houses adrift in the current while boats and ships pile up on the shore.

World Vision, which is one of the largest relief organizations in the world, has a fundraising office based in Tokyo.

"This is going to be a robust program," Parodi said, comparing it to recent natural disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. "Given the scope and scale of this disaster, we know it's going to be a long haul."

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