－ Five years later －
Five years have passed in March 2016 since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident (Fukushima Daiichi accident) occurred. While we hear and see positive news about the recovery in the affected areas, nearly 100,000 Fukushima citizens are still evacuated from their homes, living in or outside of Fukushima Prefecture.
Funded by the international donations from other sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, the Fukushima Chapter of the Japanese Red Cross Society (Fukushima Chapter), which is located in Fukushima Prefecture affected by the earthquake, the tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident, has been providing various recovery assistance programs. The recovery assistance is continuing to be provided by the staff of the Fukushima Chapter, the staff of the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) city/town/village branches and Red Cross volunteer corps members in Fukushima Prefecture with the cooperation of related organizations/groups.
For the 5th anniversary, we organized and summarized the reasons why these activities were necessary, how they started and what kind of challenges emerged while providing these activities, as well as the data for the programs.
We hope that this information will not only help the JRCS staff but also other people who are engaged in assisting Fukushima, our sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other relevant parties who are preparing for nuclear disasters which might occur in the future to think about recovery assistance.
Recovery assistance programs by Fukushima Chapter
Based on the results of need surveys from the survivors and the affected municipalities that the Fukushima Chapter started to conduct shortly after the complex disaster, the chapter set several core assistance areas: health enhancement; rebuilding lives; and educational support. The Fukushima Chapter has provided the recovery assistance programs in these areas for the survivors ranging from children to elderly people with the cooperation of Red Cross volunteers and related groups/organizations.
The Fukushima Chapter will continue to provide assistance for the survivors focusing on physical and mental health enhancement with help from relevant people.
In addition, we hope that more people will learn about the current situation of Fukushima Prefecture and the efforts that the Fukushima Chapter and the Red Cross volunteer corps are making and join supporting the survivors.
The Fukushima Chapter provides physical and mental health enhancement programs for the survivors.
Red Cross Health Class （FY 2011 - present）
The elderly people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi accident are experiencing a prolonged evacuation and/or living an inconvenient lifestyle in temporary housing. This has caused great concerns about their physical and mental health. In order to help to prevent disuse syndrome and need for nursing care or to alleviate isolation due to the changed environment and disrupted hometown communities, the Fukushima Chapter gives health classes to the elderly survivors.
Red Cross First Aid Course （FY 2011 - present）
Due to the prolonged evacuation after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the worsening or development of disuse syndrome and life-style related diseases is a concern. The Red Cross First Aid Courses are provided for the survivors who are living in temporary housing or private rental houses rented by the prefectural government and people who experienced the evacuation. The provision of the courses is aimed at learning how to prevent these diseases, how to use an AED, and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
Red Cross Health Lecture （FY 2011 - FY 2013）
In Fukushima Prefecture, many people were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and forced to evacuate due to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Furthermore, many of Fukushima citizens are concerned about possible effects on their health from radioactive materials. In order to provide them with knowledge about radiation and contribute to disease prevention and health enhancement, the Fukushima Chapter organized and held the Red Cross Health Lectures given by an expert and physicians.
Community reunion event for evacuees （FY 2012 - present）
Many of the evacuees are living in temporary housing or private rental housing rented by the prefectural government. They are living scattered inside or outside of Fukushima Prefecture. That means the evacuees are living in areas which are unfamiliar to them and thus, there is little communication with their new neighbors and communities. They are concerned about their future. Furthermore, they have very few opportunities to see their friends and neighbors of their town where they once lived due to the sudden evacuation. From this background, the Fukushima Chapter has organized and held community reunion events to provide opportunities for the evacuees to reunite and regain the relationship they used to enjoy before the earthquake. The municipal governments of the evacuees cooperate in holding the reunion events.
Health enhancement program for the survivors （FY 2012 - present）
The Fukushima Chapter provides the survivors living in temporary housing or private rental houses rented by the prefectural government with social events such as Red Cross Ground Golf Classes and Red Cross Nordic Walking. The purpose of the events is to compensate for a lack of exercise, release physical and mental stress and enhance their health.
The Fukushima Chapter supports building livelihoods, which is necessary for the survivors to regain their lifestyles and rehabilitate their communities.
Recovery assistance activities by JRCS branches and Red Cross volunteer corps （FY 2011 - present）
To help the survivors to recover their healthy and enjoyable lifestyles both physically and mentally as much as possible, JRCS city/town/village branches and Red Cross volunteer corps in Fukushima Prefecture visit the survivors at temporary housing. They provide hands-on activities for the survivors to support them and help revitalization of their communities. This program started in FY 2011 and is still operating. The activities are provided by each city/town/village branch and Red Cross volunteer corps. The activity programs include patchwork classes, craft classes, health classes, cooking classes, making hot meals, and activities for beautifying communities with flowers. All programs offered are hands-on programs.
Events for encouraging Fukushima citizens （FY 2012 - FY 2014）
There were many survivors who were concerned about their physical and mental health due to effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the inconvenient lives in temporary housing. Being moved by live music, shedding tears or laughing by watching a movie were believed to be important to their physical and mental well-being. Based on this concept, the Fukushima Chapter organized and held 20 events for the survivors from FY 2012 to FY 2014.
In order to contribute to creating the foundations for children who will bear the next generation, the Fukushima Chapter provides educational support programs. They offer items and places for education and assurance which were lost due to the earthquake.
Red Cross Smile Park （FY 2011 - FY 2013）
Outdoor play of pre-school children in Fukushima Prefecture was limited because of the concerns about effects on them from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Fukushima Chapter strongly hoped to prepare an in-door playground so that the children could move their body freely. Based on this idea, the Fukushima Chapter created a program called “Red Cross Smile Park”. The program was held in 6 cities in Fukushima Prefecture 13 times from February 2012 to December 2013.
Red Cross Smile Camp （FY 2014）
Concerns about effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident caused psychological stress on school children living in Fukushima Prefecture. The purpose of the program was to provide students of elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture with opportunities to touch nature and spend a few days at accommodation facilities with different-aged children from different schools of Fukushima Prefecture, which would refresh themselves physically and mentally. At the camp, they were also provided with a program “to acquire wider perspectives for the future" and opportunities “to act by helping and cooperating with each other". The camp aimed to help the children who will be leaders in Fukushima in the future to develop their foundations through these programs and opportunities.
Support program for the affected schools of Fukushima Prefecture （FY2011 - present）
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident damaged some school buildings in Fukushima Prefecture. Some schools are located within the evacuation order area and the students and teachers are having classes in temporary school buildings in the locations where they evacuated to. Some school buildings were not damaged by the disaster itself but the students’ homes were damaged or are located within the evacuation area and those students are studying at schools in areas they evacuated to. Aimed at helping them enjoy their school lives and alleviate their stress or fear, this support program for the affected schools was started. Based on requests from the affected schools, the Fukushima Chapter provides various programs which are appropriate for the pupils and students, including concerts, dramas, movies and hands-on workshops.
JRC poem and 100-word essay contest （FY 2011 - present）
The JRC* poem and 100-word essay contest has been held since FY 2006. Since FY 2011, the JRCS Fukushima Chapter has invited the students of JRC member schools to send poems and 100-word essays involving their experiences from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The themes are: "What I became aware of"; "What I thought about"; and "What I turned or tried to turn into action" from the experiences. The poems and essays have been reviewed and excellent ones have been included in an anthology. The purpose of the program is to help students to think positively about their future and to become independent by writing about their feelings and thoughts.
* Junior Red Cross
International program for the affected high school students
（FY 2013 - present）
Even before the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred, the Fukushima Chapter had sent students from the JRC member schools of Fukushima Prefecture to a National Society abroad to promote international understanding and friendship. After the earthquake, the chapter has invited students from not only the JRC member schools but also non-JRC member schools to participate in the program. The purpose of the program is to explain the damage in Fukushima caused by the disaster to people of the National Society country and express gratitude to the National Society for the assistance they provided after the onset of the disaster. At the same time, the students interact with youths of the country.
Data of recovery assistance programs
|The program provides/provided:|
|1||Health enhancement||Red Cross Health Class||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Classes for elderly evacuees who live inconvenient lives at temporary housing to learn about how to prevent disuse syndrome and/or alleviate isolation.|
|2||Health enhancement||Red Cross First Aid Course||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Classes by JRCS first aid course instructors about health and how to use the AED that is installed in a meeting room of each temporary housing site.|
|3||Health enhancement||Red Cross Health Lecture||✓||✓||✓||Lectures given by an expert and physicians for people who evacuated due to the Fukushima Daiichi accident and were concerned about their health.|
|4||Health enhancement||Community reunion event for evacuees||✓||✓||✓||✓||Reunion events organized for the evacuees who were dispersed by the Fukushima Daiichi accident to rebuild relationships.|
|5||Health enhancement||Health enhancement program for the survivors||✓||✓||✓||✓||Outdoor activities (e.g. Red Cross Nordic Walking and ground golf) for the survivors to compensate for a lack of exercise and release their mental stress.|
|6||Rebuilding lives||Recovery assistance activities by JRCS branches and Red Cross volunteer corps||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Hands-on activities which are provided by JRCS city/town/village branch staff and Red Cross volunteer corps members at temporary housing to support the survivors and communities.|
|7||Rebuilding lives||Events for encouraging Fukushima citizens||✓||✓||✓||Events such as live concerts and movie screenings for the survivors in order to reduce their concerns about physical and mental health.|
|8||Educational support||Red Cross Smile Park||✓||✓||✓||An indoor-playground for preschool children whose outdoor play was limited due to concerns about radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident so that they could move their body freely.|
|9||Educational support||Red Cross Smile Camp||✓||Opportunities for elementary and junior high school students who lived with stress due to concerns about radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident radiation to touch nature and make friends.|
|10||Educational support||Support program for the affected schools of Fukushima Prefecture||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Opportunities for students whose school buildings were damaged or relocated due to the Fukushima Daiichi accident to appreciate music and plays.|
|11||Educational support||JRC* poem and 100-word essay contest||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Contest for students to submit poems/100-word essays which represent what they became aware of or thought about from the experience of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Excellent poems and essays are included in an anthology.|
|12||Educational support||International program for the affected high school students||✓||✓||✓||Opportunities for students of the JRC member high schools and other non-member high schools affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident to travel to other National Society’s country and interact with the JRC members there.|
* Junior Red Cross