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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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Jul 5, 2012

Monthly Report vol.12

One year in the disaster area

At 14:46 local time on March 11, 2011, a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred on the pacific coast along from Sanriku to Ibaraki coast. Tsunami caused by the earthquake and aftershocks killed a lot of people. Still, more than 3,000 people were reported missing. The life of survivors has drastically changed. One year has passed since the great East Japan Earthquake. What do people in the disaster area think? How do they feel?

-"I still hate the Tsunami. It washed away everything. At first I didn't know what to do. I cried over what I lost every day. However, as time went by, I came to think positively. Only one year. From now on, I will step forward year by year."

-"It is no use crying over spilt milk. We, survivors should just go forward."

-"It is the first anniversary commemorating a lot of people who were killed in the disaster. I can't have clear image of reconstruction. One year cannot be a milestone for reconstruction."

-"After the disaster I have just continued to work hard. For the first anniversary, I want to meet my friends to think back and to talk about one another. Then I will go forward together with my friends. There are a lot of things I can't do by my self."

-"Every time I talked about my experience to people from outside, I recalled painfull memories and felt sad."

-"It was a very long year for me. With the help from a lot of volunteers across Japan and support organizations, we have got through difficulties so far. After people from outside go back to their home, we have to work by ourselves in order not to make our community go into decline."

Memories of that day, experiences during one year after the disaster, anxiety about the future. Different people have different emotions. From now on individual power and ties among people are becoming important than ever.


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Jul 5, 2012

Monthly Report vol.11

11 months since the earthquake, industrial recovery is the key

11months have passed since the Tohoku Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. In coastal regions devastated by the resulting tsunami, the first stage of rubble removal and building cleanup has been completed. At first glance, it looks as if calm has returned to these areas. The problems that each person here is bearing such as shock and worry about the future will requre many long months and years to recover from.

 Many people are living each day burdened by their individual worries. These included people remembering family, friends, and loved ones lost right before their eyes in the tsunami, people worried about their employment for whom the prospects of their industry recovering look poor, people as yet unable to return to their homes out of fear, and people living in fear of radiation.

 On the other hand, there are people striving to overcome these anxieties and somehow recover. In addition to conducting activities to prevent isolation and to provide mental care for disaster victims, Civic Force continues to provide support in various areas to support the revival of towns even more vital than they were before the earthquake by supporting urban development and industrial restoration, sources of vitality for people.

 In our 11th monthly report, we report on the start of the second session of the employee volunteer dispatch program and the resolution and start of the second project for the General Incorporated Foundation Tohoku Kyoeki Toshi Kikin. In addition, we will also explain the meaning of monitoring NPO partner projects.


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