Thank you for your continuous support for Civic Force.
Three years ago in May 2011, many volunteers from all over the country came to work in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake during the Golden Week and other holidays. They removed mud and cleaned up debris. Many other people have also participated in volunteer activities organized by NPOs, so the year 2011 is called “the first year of the new volunteer movement.”
More than three years have passed since the disaster and the number of visitors to the affected areas is gradually declining.
On the other hand, the aid activities have diversified away from collecting donations and working in the areas, and various aid methods have been created.
One way to support long-term reconstruction is “to buy” products from the disaster areas. Products made in these areas include traditional handcrafts dating back to before the disaster, industrial products backed by excellent technology, and delicious food items grown in the nature of Tohoku. Buying these products is one casual way of supporting the region.
Some of the NPOs and companies Civic Force has been supporting through the “NPO Partner Projects,” are creating attractive products.
This 38th Monthly Report focuses on the “recent activities” of our partner NPOs, such as “Peace Jam,” which support mothers in disaster-hit areas,and “Peace Nature Lab,” which sells sweets made from local ingredients.
Three years and a month have passed since the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the disaster affected Sanriku coastal areas including Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, efforts to build new towns are gradually getting underway, such as elevating ground, and building public houses for the victims. On the other hand, the pace of reconstruction has been very slow in some parts of Fukushima prefecture, which have been seriously impacted by radiation from the nuclear power plant accident.
One hundred thirty thousand nuclear accident evacuees have yet to return to their home town. It is said that more than 47,000 of them are now living in other prefectures, with 20 percent staying with relatives and acquaintances while more than 80 percent have started new lives in unfamiliar places (Source: Reconstruction Agency, as of March, 2014).
The government finally gave up on meeting its initial goal of sending all evacuees back home, and has asked about 25,000 people, whose residences are inside the “difficult-to-return zones” where annual radiation exposure level still exceeds 50 millisieverts, to agree to a de facto “permanent relocation.”
Some hope to return to their home town someday and revitalize the town. Some have no choice but to settle in new places to stabilize their lives. These people are all facing the harsh reality and being forced to make difficult decisions.
In order to respond to such complicated feelings of the evacuees, people in and out of Fukushima Prefecture not only must support the return of evacuees but also have the courage to support those people who are starting new lives away from their home town and implement supportive measures for them.
In this monthly report, we will introduce the support project for accepting evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture, which was launched in Hiroshima in August 2013 as part of the NPO Partner Projects for helping the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
We will also report on the new aid projects launched by the “Tohoku Common Benefit Investment Fund,” which was established by Civic Force in December 2011 following the earthquake disaster, as well as the progress of the aid for the areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year.
Exactly, three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
We would like to offer our deepest sympathy to all victims.
There is still a long way to go before the disaster areas will fully recover. The longer the reconstruction takes, the rate at which people can put their lives back in order will differ for each disaster victim. For a short time after the disaster, all the victims were at the same stage of recovery, living in evacuation centers or temporary housings. However, after three years have passed, evacuees are taking different paths; some people have left town and begun new lives; some have remained and rebuilt their houses; and some have no choice but to remain in temporary houses because they have no prospect for rebuilding. The reconstruction aid activities are becoming more complex.
Civic Force, based in Miyagi Prefecture, mostly helped in rebuilding local communities and providing back up for reconstruction activities. For Fukushima residents, we implemented various aid activities, such as providing mental-health care for disaster victims, sheltering stranded dogs, assisting relocation services, and so on. Going forward, we will work to maximize our experiences and networks in further strengthening our aid activities in Fukushima Prefecture, where reconstruction tends to show slow progress.
Reconstruction activities in disaster areas, including Fukushima, are still in their early stages. We ask you for your undivided support to help people who never lose their hope and do their best to conquer various difficulties.
This Monthly Report Vol.36 presents: ‘A review of the affected areas’, ‘Two groups from Kesennuma City attend a reconstruction event in France, ‘Aid for Typhoon Affected Areas in Central Philippines’, and ‘Supporting the strengthening of Sri Lanka’s Disaster risk reduction capacity.’
We highly appreciate your comments about Civic Force activities.