Members of the ALAN logistics aid network are on alert to provide relief services to the region of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami as the country's needs become clearer in coming days.
"We're monitoring what is happening and staying in touch with the (non-governmental) organizations," said Jock Menzies, president of the American Logistics Aid Network. "Usually it takes a while for specific needs to emerge as they assess the situation. Then they will be reaching out to us."
The disaster that killed many thousands of people near the coastal area of northeastern Japan severely damaged much of the region's infrastructure and left people homeless and without water, food and power for electricity. The impact grew over the weekend as authorities evacuated areas near nuclear plants that were severely damaged in the earthquake, apparently causing radiation leaks and setting off fears of meltdowns.
Japan's government has mobilized more than 100,000 soldiers to provide emergency relief and the U.S. Navy is sending relief supplies into the hard-hit region.
The need for supplies will grow in the coming days, said Menzies, but for now "all we can do is wait and see, I'm afraid."
"There may be specific transportation needs, warehouse space that is needed to stage goods or the need for certain products," he said. "What's important is that you not just 'stuff' but respond with the goods that are needed where they are needed."