Wednesday, March 16, 2011

IFAI Updates Members Conditions after Earthquake

Mr. Kikuko Tagawa, executive director of Industrial Fabric Association International Japan, has been collecting information from IFAI members impacted by Friday's earthquake and tsunami that have devastated several areas of Japan. So far, no IFAI members in Japan have reported serious damages or loss of life. IFAI President and CEO Stephen Warner has been receiving many emails and phone calls from people in the industry and staff regarding Tagawa’s status as well as that of the members of IFAI Japan.

The New York Times has posted a shortlist of organizations accepting donations: American Red Cross, AmeriCares, CARE, Doctors Without Borders,, International Medical Corps, Lions Clubs International, The Salvation Army, Save the Children,, and UJA-Federation of New York.

Following are the reports from IFAI Japan.

Tuesday, March 15
Tagawa contacted Meiji Tech, which has a plant in MinamiSoma city in Fukushima and had this report: “Mr. Ishihara said that there is no significant damage to the plant itself, but, there are 13 employees who lost their houses because of the tsunami.  One employee was in the plant when the earthquake happened, and went back home to check on his family. Then the tsunami hit and he has gone missing. Some employees’ family members are missing at this time also.  It is difficult to get connected by phone still in the area. There are still more than 8,000 people are missing.

“Also, MinamiSoma is located close to the nuclear plant.  About 20 employees’ houses are located within the 20 km of the plant, which had to evacuate as of this morning. Things are getting worse with nuclear plant, so there may be more that are affected. This is the hardest story among members now.”

Tagawa has continued to call members such as Saitamatsusho, and they are okay: “I found that Kaneka has a plant in Kashima in Ibaragi prefecture, which is North of Tokyo, South of Fukushima, and has some damage to the facility. And Kuraray also has a plant in Kashima, and has some problems in operating.  But at both companies there is no human loss. Other members I contacted today were OK. Some happened to be in Tokyo on a business trip; and some members in Tokyo area had a hard time getting back home. They need to sleep in the station, or in the lobby of a hotel, or in offices, or had to walk many hours back to home. I will keep collecting information from members tomorrow from those in the western part of Japan.

“Another serious concern is the nuclear power plant problem. We truly hope this problem is solved. This may add tremendous further damage to people and industry. There is still confusion about getting information and telephone service.  The temperature will be colder for a few days in the area.”

Monday, March 14
Members in the northern part of the country appear to be safe, said Tagawa, and they are investigating whether there are damages to their production facilities or equipment.

Members in the Tokyo area are dealing with shortages of power, food, supplies and fuel. Restricted access to public transportation and infrastructure is causing delays of goods and services, and there is a great deal of concern for fellow business partners and clients in the region, Tagawa said.

Tagawa said the immediate needs for the devastated areas are food, water, blankets, clothing, non-electric heating, medicine and shelter. Protective clothing is also a concern, as fears circulate following the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"I am glad that I have not found any serious damage to the members," Tagawa said. "I hope people will keep strong in this difficult environment."

For comprehensive coverage of the disaster in Japan, please visit BBC News.

IFAI Japan is a designated country sector of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), an association representing the interests of 2,000 companies from 54 countries in 11 defined market niches.


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