Oct 26, 2020

COVID-19 Response: June - October 2020 Report

Safe play area for children
Safe play area for children

COVID-19 continues to be a threat to people around the world including Japan. The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives - from riding public transportation to meeting our friends for dinner. For vulnerable subgroups, this change has been even more pronounced. Please see below for a summary of Civic Force's assistance activities.

 

Providing Safe Play Areas for Children - NPO Partner Project

On May 25, the government lifted the state of emergency across Japan. However, event gatherings cannot be organized as they were before the pandemic. "The virus is scary. But it is not the only scary thing. We cannot ignore the children who are forced to feel cramped and stressed," said Mr. Satoshi Ito, Representative Director of Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School. Mr. Ito has been providing play spaces for children and community development since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Mr. Ito remembered that children were psychologically and physically affected by the disaster – they felt sick, had outbursts, and became aggressive toward others. To mitigate those risks, Mr. Ito began planning activities for them.

 

Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School provided safe play areas for children under the age of 12 and their families. Local elementary school students smiled and exclaimed, "It was fun playing outside!" The outdoor event became popular through word of mouth and over 60 people gathered every weekend through August. The group placed special emphasis on infection prevention. They visited a local hospital and educational institutions and listed all necessary preventive measures - handwashing, coughing etiquette, checking travel history and health condition, and creating safe play areas. The Nature School promoted safe hygiene habits to prevent infections using a quiz station at the entrance and asked children about hand washing and how to properly wear a mask.

 

2020 Kyushu Floods

Record-breaking torrential rain began on July 4 and left 77 dead in its wake. When the rain began, Civic Force’s joint emergency assistance team, ARROWS (Airborne Rescue and Relief Operations With Search), dispatched 25 members including doctors, nurses, and search-and-rescue (SAR) members with three SAR dogs. The team utilized two helicopters, vehicles, amphibious vehicles, and boats and provided prompt assistance activities.

 

1.3 million residents were ordered to evacuate and Civic Force assisted the evacuees by providing evacuation center management and distributing relief items including COVID-19 prevention supplies. Evacuation centers had to prepare for overcrowding which would exacerbate the threat of COVID-19. Civic Force helped manage five centers in Kumamoto and implemented infection prevention measures to mitigate risk against the virus. Civic Force distributed masks and sanitation supplies at the centers as well as providing tents to be used as isolation areas in case evacuees had fevers.

 

Online Store Keeps Jobs for People with Disabilities – NPO Partner Project

The prolonged COVID-19 crisis is affecting sales of products made at welfare centers for people with disabilities (PWDs). Many centers have been pushed to close down and employment opportunities for PWDs are becoming scarce. Arts and Sports for Everyone (ASE) and NPO KP5000 in Kumamoto are working together to bring in new buyers and explore new distribution channels. ASE encourages participation of PWDs in arts and sports. KP5000 promotes full participation of PWDs in communities. As part of their initiative, an online shop “Shifuku Department Store” was launched in September. The shop has a wide range of products - groceries, merchandise, eco-friendly bags, CDs, and more. Fortunately, the shop has been making sales every day since its opening.

 

Civic Force has been supporting ASE with this initiative to lessen the negative impact COVID-19 has had on PWDs. Civic Force will continue to look for opportunities to support people in need.

Provided evacuation center management
Provided evacuation center management
Tent used as isolation center at evac center
Tent used as isolation center at evac center
Distributed relief items to evac centers
Distributed relief items to evac centers
Jun 26, 2020

COVID-19 Response: March - May 2020 Report

In our last report from February 2020, we informed you about our emergency response to COVID-19 in China with over 500,000 masks distributed to affected areas. Since then, as COVID-19 hotspots spread to other countries around the globe, Civic Force began focusing on emergency response in Japan.

With personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as surgical masks and gowns in high demand and supply chains disrupted, many medical and welfare facilities were unable to replenish their stock of PPEs. These front line workers were constantly exposed to the virus and the patients and clients they dealth with were often the most vulnerable subgroups such as the elderly. Through the joint emergency response team called "ARROWS," Civic Force and our partners responded to the needs reported by these facilities, expanding activities and beneficiaries as the pandemic grew.

March Activities

-- Distributed over 160,000 protective masks to nurseries, kindergartens, day care centers, and welfare facilities in Fukuroi starting March 2.

-- Leased and installed a mobile trailer office at a hospital in Osaka on March 5. The trailer was used asa waiting, consultation, and triage room depending on the changing needs of the hospital.

April Activities

-- Leased and installed an air tent at a hospital in Osaka on April 7. The tent was used as an overflow area for patients waiting to see a doctor.

-- Distributed 54,800 protective masks to 274 welfare facilities in Tokyo from April 8-10.

-- Leased and installed trailer offices at two hospitals in Kyushu on April 23.

-- Dispatched a medical team to the Italian cruise ship, Costa Atlantica, docked in Nagasaki on April 28. There were 148 confirmed cases on the ship and our medical team was dispatched at the request of Nagasaki Prefecture's Disaster Management Assistance Team (DMAT). The ARROWS medical team helped provide medical consultations and assisted with patient transfer operations.

May Activities

-- Launched a new fundraising project to support recovering communities that were previously affected by other disasters. Through the NPO Partner Project, Civic Force will support local organizations that provide much-needed aid to their communities such as providing safe spaces for children and education assistance.

-- Civic Force's Executive Director, Kaori Neki, joined six other NPOs across Japan in submitting a letter to a member of the House of Representatives, petitioning to expand the eligibility of the COVID-19 subsidy program to NPOs. NPOs across Japan have been leading efforts in the national emergency response to COVID-19 and need more support.

 

Please continue to support Civic Force's activities by spreading this report on social media and donating. Thank you for your generous support!

Cruise ship in Nagasaki
Cruise ship in Nagasaki
Trailer office with chairs and air purifier
Trailer office with chairs and air purifier
Feb 27, 2020

Over 500,000 Masks Delivered to China

Shipment of supplies preparing for delivery
Shipment of supplies preparing for delivery

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread and has infected over 82,000 globally and killed at least 2,800, the vast majority in China. Alarmingly more and more medical facilities are depleting their stocks of protective supplies. In response to this need, Civic Force arranged transportation of 504,000 masks to the International Health Welfare Institute (IHWI), a local partner in Shanghai, China. The masks were delivered to IHWI on February 20 and will be delivered to Chinese medical facilities in desperate need of supplies. The masks, including 252,000 children's masks, were a part of a stockpile stored in a warehouse in Fukuroi, Japan. Civic Force has opened our stockpile and received requests from many medical facilities in Japan to provide protective supplies.

As the number of infections outside China continue to rise, Civic Force needs your continued support to meet the needs of medical facilities. Your support contributes to turning the tide against this outbreak.

Supplies in the warehouse
Supplies in the warehouse
Medical facility thanking our delivery
Medical facility thanking our delivery
Protective masks are needed
Protective masks are needed
 
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