Solidarity with Japan - One year on

March 15, 2012

Japon - Un an après

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake measuring nine on the Richter scale hit northeastern Japan. The quake, recorded about 130 km from the coast, triggered a tsunami wave that devastated the coast for a distance of nearly 500 km, swamp 433,000 km² of land and caused considerable human and material damage.

Autre conséquence de ce tremblement de terre, le 12 mars, à 15h36, une explosion se produit dans la centrale de Fukushima Daiichi, située à 250 kilomètres au nord de Tokyo. Dans les jours qui suivent, une véritable course contre la montre s’engage pour tenter de refroidir les trois réacteurs endommagés, qui rejettent des émanations fortement radioactives.

The disaster in figures

  • 15,854 people died
  • 3,276 people are missing (official toll)
  • 102,273 were evacuated after the disaster
  • 170,538 houses were destroyed or damaged houses
  • 22.5 million tons of debris
  • 22 prefectures were affected

The Sanofi Group, together with its employees, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, and the Japanese subsidiary were all actively mobilized immediately after the quake and worked with the Japanese Red Cross to help the thousands of people affected by the disaster.
With €1 million donated by the Foundation a few days later, supplemented by €250,000 of donations from employees, and matched by the Group euro for euro, and the mobilization of the Japanese subsidiary, the company drew up emergency and post-emergency programs.


These actions still ongoing in the affected areas, and are organized around three priorities:

Restoring access to care

several temporary units have been set up together with the rebuilding of municipal centers. Support has been provided for immunizing the elderly against pneumonia.

Recreating social bonds

between the 100,000 families relocated by the Red Cross, sometimes more than 150 miles from their homes: organizing meetings between families, setting up group activities (sporting events, recreational activities for the elderly), and building a covered play center for children.
Since we were evacuated from our house in Namie, a town inside the twenty kilometer exclusion zone, we had to live in our car, in hotels or with friends, before settling in a prefab. I am very grateful to the Red Cross for building a playground inside the "Smile Park". I feel that children are paying the price of our anxieties and our decisions. It's our fault when they can no longer play outside.
Tamami Morino, mother.

Providing vital psychological support

primarily for children, seniors and the 120,000 people who lost their jobs, who are particularly vulnerable: organizing meetings and exchanges with the Red Cross volunteers, and specially trained psychologists.
The number of people who attend these sessions has increased, showing that these problems are of a lasting nature and that the residents themselves are reaching out to those who need help most, says Dr Toshiharu Makishima.

The Red Cross’ post emergency activities will continue in 2012 with the aim of making access to health services more robust and sustainable, and relocating victims to real homes, where possible in their original villages.

I wish to convey my deep gratitude for your exceptional mobilization and for the confidence you have placed in our Movement. It is very important for an organization like the Red Cross to be able to count on partners like you and on the mobilization of your entire staff…

Tadateru Konoe - President of the Japanese Red Cross, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

For more information: