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Feb 28, 2013

Monthly Report vol.19

 "So many things we have to bear"

 The Tohoku earthquake registered a magnitude of 9.0 and the height of the ensuing tsunami was 40,1 meters. This disaster caused huge damage to North East Pacific coast of Japan. More than 18,000 people lost their lives or are still missing. It has been reported by the Reconstruction Agency that 330,000 people have evacuated to either temporary houses, public housings, hospitals or the houses of relateves and friends inside and outside of the affected areas as of September.

 In seven prefectures including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the loval governments are planning to construct 23,000 public housings for rent to the victims, however, there are difficulties in insuring the building plots due to the landscape and flooded areas. Also, difficulties associated with the aging population are another problem. Opportunities to be physically active with work and hobbies have decreased and both physical and mental disorders have caused walking difficulties among 20% of over 65 year olds. Solitary deaths and suicides at temporary houses never cease.

 The Fukushima nuclear plant accident has increasingly caused severe disturbances for the population of the prefecture. An elementary school student who was participating in a program at Tome city, Miyagi prefecture this summer said in an essay that "there is nowhere in Fukushima that one can live an ordinary life. We cannot eat vesetables havested in the neighboring farms. The swimming tournament which I was looking forward to was calceled again this summer. There are so many things we have to bear in Fukushima.

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Feb 28, 2013

Monthly Report vol.20

Tohoku Earthquake Aid Helping the recovery through mid-to-long-term recovery aid

  From the standpoint of having helped with recovery on-site since immediately after the quake, what can we do now? Civic Force faces the thoughts and words of many victims even now, and is starting the "Mid-to-Long-term Reconstruction Support Project" from this summer, based on four core areas: Tourism Revitalization, Medical Access, Renewable Energy and Community Reconstruction.

  For the Tourism Revitalization, We joined the strategy meeting for tourism, debates held monthly in Kesennuma city, Miyagi, since March 2012. In october, we performed interviews in and outside the city with those in the tourism industry on the city`s projects as well as presenting ideas for a tourism revitalizing platform. from now on, we plan to discuss organizational plans and budget details.

  Medical Accsee focuses on the increasing isolation of Kesennuma and other afflicted coastal areas and aims to link together with municipalities, firefighters and regional medical institutions to introduce and implement civilian helicopter ambulances. This will allow for quick mobilization in times of a disaster, raise the rate of survival in an area where quick access to high-level medical service is difficult, and build a model case for a more air-centric rescue strategy. Accordingly, in preparation for implementing this next spring, we are investigating a good site for a heliport and working with medical institutions in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.

  Renewable Energy works with the Kesennuma Energy Development Corporation that is at the heart of the renewable energy project in Kesennuma to improve forest environments, employment and other long-term benefits for regional economy. Additionally, this project works with municipalities as well, with the municipality itself calling for the propagation of natural energy.


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Nov 5, 2012

Monthly Report vol.18

Tohoku Earthquake Aid: Key Recovery as seen in “Seawall Study Workshop” In the affected areas of Tohoku, there is a combination of difficulties such as the relocation of houses to more elevated areas, disposal of debris from vast areas, employment security, and mental care for victims. For the people living in coastal areas, the subject of seawalls is one of the most controversial. A Seawall Study Workshop has been held around ten times during August and September by groups of volunteer residents in Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture. In Miyagi Prefecture, there is a plan to construct seawalls 3 to 11 meters in height divided into 22 blocks on the coastline. Even though the tsunami partially destroyed seawalls last March, there is the opinion that bigger seawalls are still necessary to prevent future disasters. On the other hand, there is the opinion that we should seek other preventive measures in consideration of the landscape and the ecological impact. As such, the workshop has become a means to advance the discussion on how to re-plan the community based on correct information; learn about legal aspects and local government policy, basic rules and the construction schedule; and exchange basic information within the district. Participants have been increasing - now numbering more than 100, and sometimes over 170. These workshops are not an opportunity for the people to express their opinion “for” or “against.” Moreover, the importance of expressing their own opinion from a local authority and civil standpoint has arisen with regards to reconstructing the community with cooperation from domestic and foreign advisers, also bearing in mind that the sea cannot be disregarded. In many of the affected areas of Tohoku, there have been demands to revitalize the area since before the disaster took place, as aging and depopulation is advancing. This is a common problem throughout Japan. The people are responsible for reconstruction as a concern for their livelihood, while the government authority is there to listen to the people. The first step for revitalization of the area is to discuss local revitalization. We entered the affected area by helicopter on the day following the incident and have been supporting the local residents in procuring and delivering aid goods. We have also been building on relationships with the local residents, advancing a network of intellectual resources and working on a mid to long term support program. Specifically, the introduction of an emergency medical helicopter, vitalization of tourism, renewable energy, and group relocation and reconstruction of community planning are main projects that are developing with the mid to long term viewpoint on reconstruction assistance projects. Details will be uploaded on our website whenever the occasion arises.

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