Asia/Pacific: Emergency Response

Japan: Peace Boat volunteers
Peace Boat volunteers serve hot food to survivors in Ishinomaki. Photo: Damon Perry/CWS

When disaster strikes, CWS works with local partners to provide shelter, food and water, and other emergency relief items, as well as counseling. CWS stays long after media attention has moved on, helping vulnerable families and communities prepare for and recover from natural and human-caused calamities.

Our emergency response work includes the following elements: the distribution of food and non-food items; health, water and sanitation programs; and programs for early recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.


Since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s northeast coast on March 11, 2011, CWS has been providing humanitarian assistance to the Japanese survivors.

Initially, this included the provision of hot meals and mobile health services, as well as a pest control project. CWS has also been supporting Peace Boat Japan to mobilize thousands of volunteers, who have cleared mud from thousands of houses, shops and public spaces.

Now in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase of the relief operation, we have adapted our support to include psychosocial support, long-term advocacy for the improved public understanding of radiation issues, and capacity building for NGOs on the front line of emergency relief provision.


Indonesia is vulnerable to natural and human-made disasters. The country is situated in the ‘ring of fire’ – a notorious zone for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Floods, landslides and long drought seasons are also regular hazards in many regions. Additionally, some communities suffer from communal violence.

CWS coordinates with relevant state agencies, local government and institutions to prepare for, respond to, mitigate and recover from disasters or emergencies. For example, we provided assistance to communities in Aceh Province affected by earthquake and tsunami in 2004. In 2010, we provided supplies to the Mentawai Islands in response to the October 27, 2010, earthquake.