TR stands down for Japan – though our thoughts and prayers are with the nation

TR has carefully assessed and decided against an emergency response to the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. TR came to this decision after considering our capabilities versus the robust emergency services and infrastructure of the nation of Japan. There is simply no gap for TR emergency medical teams to bridge when host country services start at definitive care. In other words, we have determined there is no need for TR triage services within such an advanced emergency system.

Japan is as well prepared as any country in the world to handle emergency trauma needs in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters. The third largest economy in the world, Japan is in fact number one when it comes to earthquake response.

In making our decision, TR considered our experience in Chile, where definitive care was fully intact and functioning by the time TR reached the epicenter of the earthquake. In our detailed Chile after action report, TR determined that in hindsight we most likely would not deploy to Chile again. TR has limited resources to conduct disaster relief and will only deploy medical teams when TR can ensure the individual donor a ‘return on investment’ in terms of lives saved, however difficult that may be to determine.

In addition, we are searching for any aftermath of the tsunami in less well environments in the Pacific which would be unable to mount such a coordinated response. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the nation of Japan. This will prove to be their finest hour.

William McNulty
VP, Team Rubicon

14 Responses to “TR stands down for Japan – though our thoughts and prayers are with the nation”

  1. William says:

    I would add how difficult a decision it was to make to not send medical teams to a disaster of this scale, when we all literally saw people perish on the television set in real time. The decision was made by keeping with our commitment to those who fund our operations and using their money wisely, a both prudent and callous way to look upon such a tragedy.

  2. Kirk says:

    Well said.

  3. Diane says:

    William, whatever you at TR decide, I – and I believe many others – are with you. As you said, Japan is as prepared as any nation could be for earthquakes and tsunamis, and their medical infrastructure is also top notch. Search and rescue teams from this country and the world are either already on their way or getting ready to deploy. As well as the active duty American military already there (stationed at our bases in Japan) are helping.

    I’m sure if things changed, you would be there. However – at least for now – our prayers will have to do.

  4. Mike Washington says:

    A well thought out decision by the leadership of TR. I concur with your decision. Thats why you guys are in charge. Good call.

  5. Greg Huntoon says:

    I am impressed with your decision. It’s clear that you are consistently looking to where you can help the most. Best to you all.

  6. JuliB says:

    Now I have to figure out where to donate some money… I prefer to help smaller, more nimble groups… No Red Cross for me!

  7. Karl B says:

    JuliB – I am at the same decision point as you. Where to donate. I thought I would ask TR on their thoughts as to which organization would be the most efficient. I heard a Japanese official a little while ago mention donating to the Red Cross – I just dont trust them any longer, or any large organized donation campaign. I especially became skeptical after the 2004 Tsunami fund-raising and Haiti fund-raising spearheaded by Bush/Clinton (/Mena), strange bed fellows…

  8. OldSoldier54 says:

    Concur. They are on top of it. Grace and mercy upon Japan.

  9. Cathy says:

    I came here to donate $ for Japan..I read and respect your judgment call on not going to Japan…any suggestions for other places to donate?

  10. William says:

    It depends on where you want your money to go and for what purpose. TR provides first-response triage/trauma teams in the immediate aftermath of disasters. We do so when the nation’s own relief infrastructure is overwhelmed and where security is sometimes precarious. I’m not sure if NYC Medics ( is deploying to Japan, but if so, they provide a similar service and will need the support. Texting $10 to the Red Cross is too easy and you will have no idea where your money is going….probably not ultimately to Japan. Therefore I say find a local Japanese charity that fits your purpose….cause that’s where it sounds like you want your money to go.

    Selfishly I will always say TR though…as we try to scale our model of disaster relief to areas of the world underserved by conventional aid.

  11. Rosite Merentie says:

    Hey, Guys. My heart goes out to them. Being from Haiti I know how hard it must be seeing others in this situation. I will keep them in my prayers. That was a very courageous decision for not going there knowingly how much you guys want to help and I even though about it to. I support you 100%.Love Rosite M

  12. Karl B says:

    I was listening to K-Love and they mentioned several organizations that were on the ground already, Save the Children for one. They have a list on their website here –

    Would want to research these and see what they are about and see which ones were on the ground already…

    Charity navigator has a list up as well –

    Just glancing at the two lists, 4 of the 5 charities on K-Love’s list are listed on charity navigator Japanese Tsunami page and are 5 star with the only exception being that of the Baptist Global Response which I do not see Ch.Nav. rating.

  13. Karl B says:

    Sorry to post again, just wanted to post that World Vision has on the ground relief news from their team here (be sure to click read more) –

    Having supported TR, I have come to expect this kind of communication from those on the ground. It’s reassuring to see what your money is going towards other than throwing it into to some dark abyss and never hear first hand how your money is being used.

  14. Diane says:

    And don’t forget the American military that is helping. We have several bases there. At least an Navy base (a friend was base commander there – or whatever the Navy version is called – a couple of decades ago) and an Air Force base.

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