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  • Eight years later: The current status of Recovery Assistance Programs by the JRCS Fukushima Chapter

Eight years later: The current status of Recovery Assistance Programs by the JRCS Fukushima Chapter

2019/05/21

It has been eight years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident (hereafter, the Fukushima Daiichi accident) in March 2019. While we hear and see positive news about the recovery in the affected areas, more than 40,000 (as of December 2018) Fukushima citizens are still evacuated from their homes, living in or outside of Fukushima Prefecture.

As a branch of the affected prefecture, the Fukushima Chapter of the Japanese Red Cross Society (hereinafter the Fukushima Chapter) has been conducting the recovery assistance programs since the disaster occurred in March 2011, using donations received via overseas Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The staff of the Fukushima Chapter and Red Cross volunteer corps are still offering various activities.

In this digital archive, the recovery assistance programs up to FY 2015, which started five years after the disaster has opened in March 2016 as a special exhibition entitled "The recovery assistance programs of the Fukushima Chapter". Now that three years has passed since then while summarizing the change of recovery assistance programs the Fukushima Chapter which has been carried out, we will show how these activities have changed, raised challenges and how to handle such challenges along with the activity report of our recovery assistance programs.

The activities of recovery assistance the Fukushima Chapter has implemented
Based on the results of need surveys from the survivors and the affected municipalities, the Fukushima Chapter has implemented 13 recovery assistance programs such as “Red Cross Health Class” for children to elders cooperating with the collaboration of volunteer members. These programs include the core areas: “Health enhancement,” “Rebuilding lives,” and “Educational support.” In FY 2016 and 2017, eight programs continued and “Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program” was newly added in FY 2016.

Implementation status of recovery assistance programs


We will introduce the eight programs continued to be implemented in FY 2016 and 2017, and “The Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program,” which was newly added in FY 2016.

Health enhancement

We have been implementing health enhancement promotion program to support the healthy body and mind of residents.

» Red Cross Health Class (FY 2011 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
Ongoing

Program overview
We provide health classes for the elderly people living in the temporary housing, where they have to cope with many difficulties and inconveniences. The purposes of the classes are to prevent disuse syndrome and reduce social isolation.

» Red Cross First Aid Course (FY 2011 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
Ongoing

Program overview
First aid instructors provide health sessions and training on how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) located in meeting rooms in temporary housing.

» Red Cross Health Lecture (FY 2011 - 2013)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
       

Program overview
We provided lectures by experts and doctors for those who evacuated and had health concerns due to the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

» Community reunion event for evacuees (FY 2012 - 2016)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
2017
2017
   

Program overview
We provided social events for evacuees, who forced to leave their communities where they belonged to before the disaster, to catch up with former community members who forced to evacuate and live in many different places after the disaster.

» Sports & Recreation (FY 2012 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
  Ongoing

Program overview
We provide outdoor activities for the survivors to prevent lack of exercise and relieve stress. (Nordic walking, park golf, sports games, etc.)

Rebuilding lives

We support the creation of base for living that is necessary to retrieve the survivors’ daily lives and reproduce their community.

» Recovery assistance activities by JRCS branches Red Cross volunteer corps (FY 2011 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
Ongoing

Program overview
Members of JRCS branches and volunteer corps carry out the support for residents in temporary housing to support the survivors and communities. In addition, we enhance and strengthen volunteer corps through disaster management support and welfare support in the communities.

» Events for encouraging Fukushima citizens (FY 2012 - 2014)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
       

Program overview
In order to reduce the anxiety of the physical and mental health of the survivors, events such as watching music performances and movies were held.

Educational support

In order to contribute to creating the foundations for children who will bear the next generation, we provide educational support programs, which offer items and places for education and assurance, which were lost due to the earthquake.

» Red Cross Smile Park (FY 2011 - 2013)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
       

Program overview
Outdoor play of pre-school children in Fukushima Prefecture was limited because of the concerns about effects on them from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. In order to give them opportunities to move their body freely, we provided an in-door playground.

» Red Cross Smile Camp (FY 2014)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
           

Program overview
We provided the opportunities to experience nature and interact with peers for students of elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture. The program was particularly geared for students who felt stress resulting from concerns about the effect of nuclear radiation due to Fukushima Daiichi accident.

» Support program for the affected schools of Fukushima Prefecture
(FY 2011 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
ongoing

Program overview
The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi accident damaged some school buildings in Fukushima Prefecture. Also, some students were forced to evacuate. These schools and students were moved to an ordered area and hold their school lives in temporary school buildings. We provide the opportunities for such students in elementary and junior high schools to watch music concerts and dramas.

» JRC* poem and 100-word essay contest (FY 2011 - Present)
(*Junior Red Cross)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
Ongoing

Program overview
We collect works of poems and 100-word essays in which students in elementary and junior high schools write to express their feelings and thoughts about experiencing the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and make the work collections.

» JRC Disaster Management Education Program
(FY 2016 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
          Ongoing

Program overview
In order to protect children who have experienced unprecedented multiple disasters in Fukushima Prefecture, we support the training of instructors and hold disaster management classes to spread and utilize “The Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program” at school settings in cooperation with Fukushima Prefecture Board of Education.

» International program for the affected high school students
(FY 2013 - Present)

FY
2011
FY
2012
FY
2013
FY
2014
FY
2015
FY
2016
FY
2017
    Ongoing

Program overview
We provide the opportunities to send high school students from the Junior Red Cross member schools and affected schools to the overseas Red Cross members countries, and invite Junior Red Cross members from such countries to Fukushima Prefecture to mutually interact and learn.

The change in three years and the activities of JRCS


The emergency relief period started immediately after the disaster in March 2011, and at the stage of about five years later, the support was mainly provided to residents who had been evacuated to temporary housing. However, Mr. Takano who is in charge of recovery assistance programs at the Fukushima Chapter described that the support methods needed to be reviewed since that time as shown below.

“Many people among the survivors began to seek rental housing, public housing supported by the local government, or new homes from temporary housing over time, and therefore it we needed to change the support types from on the spot support such as caring for temporary housing to an area support which extended into the communities. Also, since Fukushima Prefecture was also involved in the nuclear power plant accident, many younger households rearing children were evacuated. As a result, the households which only consisted of the elders were increased and the support for the elders in the community base became urgent. Moreover, the spread of disaster management education to strengthen local disaster management capabilities became essential for prefectural residents who had suffered unprecedented complex disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear accidents. In addition to these conditions, since the end of the recovery assistance programs with overseas relief funds was set to FY 2020, we reviewed it from a point on how we would pass on the support activities rooted in the local communities while considering the end of the programs.”

In this way, support programs needed to be comprehended in multiple, multifaceted, and medium-term perspective over time, and activities from FY 2016 to 2017 continued the conventional support programs, and we focused on spreading (1) the support for the elderly and (2) disaster management education to strengthen disaster management capabilities in communities.

« Support for the elderly »

We work to spread the “Healthy Life Support Course” which provides the opportunities to learn knowledge and skills of well-being, safety and care of the elders with the cooperation of JRCS branches office. In particular, many citizens in the prefecture had a strong interest in the course about dementia. Therefore the course to train skilled people to support people with dementia” was be held as one of the JRCS courses which delivers orange arm bands to participants when they complete the course through the mediation of Fukushima Prefecture.

We hope that the spread of “Healthy Life Support Course” will lead to an increase in the number of support staff and instructors, and the community-based comprehensive care will progress in many areas of the prefecture, including those affected areas after the evacuation order is lifted in the future.

Number of participants in Healthy Life Support Course

(Unit: person)

Programs FY2016 FY2017
  Short lecture programs
 (support for the elderly at disasters)
608 479
  Short lecture programs (others) 458 1,359
 The course to train the skilled people
 to support the people with dementia
152 1,062
  Programs to train support staff 146 153
  Programs to train instructors 7*

* No. of people trained only

« Disaster Management Education »

Since FY 2016, the Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program (Save life, Spread Disaster Management) made by JRCS Headquarters has been used as a learning material of disaster management education workshop for teachers in Fukushima Prefecture (mainly about 700 teachers of elementary and junior high schools / FY, about 1 teacher from each school) organized by the Fukushima Prefecture Board of Education (60 minutes/session). Such cooperation with Fukushima Prefecture was one of the achievements of the joint declaration between Fukushima Prefecture and JRCS. Regarding disaster management education, we provide programs such as emergency rice feeding and DIG (Disaster Imagination Game) through disaster management seminars and classes not only in the Junior Red Cross, but also in “Red Cross First Aid Course” and “Recovery assistance activities by JRCS branches and Red Cross volunteer corps to spread them to wider areas of citizens.

The report of activities in each fiscal year was summarized below:

In FY 2016, the Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program was introduced for the first time under the guidance of people who attended disaster management education training held at the Japanese Red Cross Society Headquarters to the workshops on disaster management education for teachers organized by the Fukushima Prefecture Board of Education. In order to spread the program more to school settings, we held “Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Instructor Training Seminar” for the support volunteer corps which consists mainly of former teachers, and we started training members who could support schools through disaster management education.

In FY 2017, we continued to provide the Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Program to the workshops organized by the Fukushima Prefecture Board of Education. In addition, in the workshops held at each of the seven educational offices in the prefecture, the support volunteer corps, who completed the “Junior Red Cross Disaster Management Education Instructor Training Course” in the previous fiscal year, joined as supportive instructors.

Summary


Compared to the time of 2016 when the special exhibition was opened, the characteristics of the recovery assistance programs in FY 2016 and 2017 were as follows.

  • In addition to continuing the support programs for the survivors which have been carried out (also shown in the special exhibition), currently we also focus on the support for the elderly and disaster management education for more citizens in Fukushima Prefecture.
  • Considering the long process to recovery, we focus on the human resources training, especially in terms of support for the elderly and disaster management education, in order to be able to pass on sustainable and community-based activities.

In December 2017, JRCS established the basic policy on JRCS recovery assistance programs, in preparation for large-scale disasters that are concerned to occur in the future, based on the experiences and lessons learned from our support activities in the Great East Japan Earthquake. In this basic policy, our principal was published as “We will effectively use the full capacity of the Red Cross Society to reduce mental and physical pain of residents and maintain their well-being. We will connect our experience from the disasters to strengthening of disaster response capability of the communities and their residents.”

Considering this basic policy, our future plan is that we will concentrate total ability of JRCS including JRCS branches offices and volunteers such as and Red Cross volunteer corps, and strive to carry on our programs and activities rooted in the local communities in cooperation with the government and fostering awareness of self-help and mutual assistance among local residents.

More information


Recovery assistance programs of the Fukushima Chapter (FY 2011 - 2015)
Recovery assistance programs of the Fukushima Chapter of the Japanese Red Cross Society in the Great East Japan Earthquake [PDF] (Fukushima Chapter of the JRCS)