A Message from Disaster
Two years and eight months have passed since Civic Force started activities to support reconstruction in the disaster-hit areas of northeastern Japan. This section showcases the people who live in theaffected areas and continue positive efforts towards recovery. For this issue, we interviewed Mr.Masayuki Sakai, president of Kesennuma Fukko Inc., whose company takes care of the administrativework of temporary housings in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture.
In September, 2011, after the disaster, I established Kesennuma Fukko Inc. and have been operating variety of businesses such as, reception and distribution of reliefgoods, maintenance of temporary housings, providing services for temporary housing residents, and sales of temporary housings.
Before the disaster, I was a board member of the Chamber of Commerce andIndustry while running a dry cleaners shop in Kesennuma City. For a few months after the disaster, I was engaged in the management of an evacuation center in Kesennuma City where I received and distributed relief goods from members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and acquaintances all over the country. I worked to meet the needs of those taking shelter at places with lesser help byreceiving information gathered through local relationships. Later, I set up Kesennuma Fukko Inc. by request from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc. to change the situation of Kesennuma City where reconstruction was not progressing as expected.
One of the roles of our company is to connect the supports that are offered to the disaster-affected areas. Since the disaster, I have continued activities only capable by a local person who knows Kesennuma City from old times, as I saw cases in which appropriate aids were not offered due to lacking knowledge of the area. Now my focus is on“Rental-bin” , a service in which users can rent trucks with a driver on a pay-by-the-hour system. While the needs for maintenance work on temporary housings are decreasing, the needs for moving out from temporary housings will increase going forward. I hope to expand our business irrespective of scope of services and create employment.
If you need further information, please find attachment.
Support Required for Child Quake Victims
Two years and five months have passed since the March 11 GreatEast Japan Earthquake. The damage by this unprecedented disasterwas enormous. More than 15,000 people were killed and an estimated290,000 or more are still unable to return to their homes and are put up in temporary housing set up by the government, existing private and public housing, evacuation centres or are living with friends orrelatives. (Source: Reconstruction Agency website)
One of the biggest concerns in the affected areas is the impact ofprolonged life in refuge on children, our bearers of hope for thefuture. Due to the earthquake, many children find it difficult to continue their studies as the finances of their families came understrain: The breadwinners of their families may have died, gonemissing, become injured or ill, or lost their jobs from the disaster.Many families also suffered financial losses from the destruction oftheir homes – Some houses collapsed, were burnt down, or were damaged by the floods. Aside from the decline in their academic achievements, children also suffer from mental and emotional stress.
On the other hand, those children’ s parents are always on edge– Some are overwhelmed with worries about the future, some became sensitive to noises while some are depressed. These problems inevitably affect the children.
According to the 2012 data released by the Ministry of Health,Labour and Welfare, cases of child abuse were on the rise in the disaster areas. To stop the vicious cycle of suffering, more deliberate support is necessary to help tackle the individual problems faced by each victim.
As part of the Mid- to Long-Term Reconstruction Project ofCivic Force, the Dream Support Project was set up in March 2013to provide scholarships and educational programs for high schooland university students affected by the earthquake. As of July2013, 895 scholarships have been given out.
In the summer holiday season of July and August this year, an experiential learning program was organised for scholarship holders in cooperation with local NPOs which have been working with Civic Force in the north-eastern region of Japan. Through discussions with the local NPOs and youths of similar age, the program hopes to broaden the views of the participants and give them strength tolive life to the fullest.
This monthly Report features the three-day exchange program organised by the Japan Forest Biomass Network at the Tenohira niTaiyo no Ie, or House of Sunshine in Your Hand (in short House of Sunshine), a facility that supports children living the Fukushima area.
If you need further information, please find attachment and our homepage(www.civic-force.org).
Thank you so much for your support to our project. We have finished the first phase of our Typhoon Haiyan response and are currently planning our rehabilitation program for the next phase. We hope to raise more funds so we can continue working with our local partners to help survivors recover in the mid-term.
Here is a report post-emergency phase.
We have completed our emergency relief efforts in Leyte and Samar in partnership with fellow Alliance member CDRC. A total of 1,900 relief packs were distributed to families in the towns of Alangalang and Albuera in Leyte from November 23 to December 3. The relief packs consisted of food items and hygiene kits good for one week for a family of 6 persons, as well as sleeping and shelter kits.
On December 5-7, we also distributed 500 emergency tents in Guiuan, Samar, the first town to experience the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan, as well as 400 tents in Tanauan, Leyte, a coastal town in Eastern Samar where destruction caused by the storm surges is visible in numerous toppled houses and debris on the roadside. In addition, 60 more tents will be distributed in different areas in Leyte. Many survivors lost their homes or are faced with the difficulty of repairing their homes given the lack of supplies in the devastated areas. Most have been using plastic sheets to temporarily cover their roofs; while some have built small makeshift shelters made of debris or scavenged materials.
Measuring 3 m x 5.5 m x 2.1 m, each tent can accommodate a family of up to 6 people and can be easily set up by 4 people in about 10 minutes. Our staff demonstrated how to set up the tents before distributing them to the beneficiaries, most of whom had their houses washed away or destroyed by the strong storm surges.
One of our emergency tent beneficiaries had this to share:
"I live in our house here with my aunt, uncle and sister. When the typhoon happened I was in Cebu. I’m a student at Cebu City University majoring in Electronics because I want to be an electrician. My aunt was in the house, but it was completely washed out by the storm surge. Nothing was left. I came back to evacuate my sister to Cebu. I decided to stay here so I can help fix our house. We sometimes receive relief goods. We don’t buy at the market because we don’t have any money. We can’t fish because our boats were also destroyed. We made a makeshift nipa hut so we can sleep somewhere, but now we have this tent, my aunt, uncle and I can use this instead. I’m really thankful to the Japanese people for helping us." - Jerome, 18 years old, Guiuan resident, Civic Force emergency tent recipient
While bigger towns like Ormoc and Tacloban are experiencing a revival of their local markets, many smaller towns in Samar, one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines, are still reliant on relief goods. Businesses like groceries and supermarkets should restart operations to help normalize the local market. As it is now, local informal sellers are taking advantage of the extraordinary situation by selling goods 2 to 3 times the normal price, even if the government is supposedly controlling the market prices in the affected areas. Survivors we interviewed even said that some of the informal sellers are even selling goods they looted from stores in Tacloban.
Most of our beneficiaries were fishermen and farmers who lost their livelihoods in the typhoon. To help them get back on their feet, we are planning to provide support through livelihood assistance programs. Your support in the next phase will is always welcome. Donate today.