Supporting those in a dire situation who were affected by the nuclear power plant accident

Program background

Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture was seriously affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and radioactive contamination disasters. Odaka is located in the southern part of the city and within a range of 20 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It is allowed to enter the city but still prohibited to live there. Therefore, many disaster-affected people are forced to live in temporary housing. Five years has passed since the disaster and there has been an increase of people moving from temporary housing to newly constructed public housing.

 

1. Supporting the Operation of Temporary Housing Salons

A gathering for playing games in old days, held in temporary housing site salons

Approximately 2,500 temporary housing units were built in Minamisoma City. The people living in the new community do not know each other, which leads them to tend to stay home and not communicate with each other. We were afraid that their health would mentally and physically become worse or they would die alone and unnoticed. In cooperation with “Tsunagappe Minamisoma”, a local NPO, JVC organized four “salons” using the communal spaces of selected temporary housing sites. Roughly 25 to 40 people visited each salon every day. They chatted over tea or attended lessons for singing local songs. It helped them to interact with fellow residents. And also in those salons we formed a communication network among the association of residents living in temporary housing, the city of Minamisoma, and the staff of the social welfare council. We conducted an activity of watching over and supporting the residents so that they would not be left in isolation.

2. Supporting the Community in the Public disaster relief Housing

Many residents, living in temporary housing, gather in salons and develop interaction

Through their activities in salons and thanks to volunteers’ assistance, a certain degree of community has been built between the residents in temporary housing. However, we were worried what would happen if they were separated when they moved to public disaster relief housing, their communities would be broken. In the Great Hansin-Awaji Earthquake, larger numbers of solitary deaths occurred after the residents moved from temporary houses to public housing. In cooperation with an association of residents in Ohmachi Public Housing Complex in Haramachi, JVC aimed at setting up a salon, which the residents themselves could continue to operate. Together with the residents, JVC conducted an inspection survey of the activities of an association of residents in Tokiwadaira Housing Complex in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, which was an advanced example of preventing solitary deaths in public housing complexes. In addition, we repeatedly held meetings with the residents, and newly opened a salon in the housing complex. Now, the residents themselves are operating it three times a week, and it has become the starting point of their community activities.

(source: “JVC Annual Report – 2015 report”)

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