Japan: Six months after the earthquake
Malteser International rebuilds children’s home
Cologne/Ichinoseki. Thanks to the great worldwide generosity, Malteser International, the relief service of the Order of Malta for humanitarian aid, can support the reconstruction of the children’s home Fujinosono in Ichinoseki in northeastern Japan, with 4.8 million euros. The donations have come from numerous private donators, from companies like the Alliance Group, from the Siebold Society, the international Caritas network and from Germany’s Relief Coalition (ADH). Numerous national associations of the Order of Malta had also launched donation appeals and campaigns in order to support the children’s home.
The start of the construction work is already scheduled for the beginning of the year 2012; it is planned that the children aged between 3 and 18 will move into their new home which will be erected at the same place by the end of 2012, at the latest. Therefore, the temporary shelter for the children will have to be constructed in November already.
The new home will be among the first new buildings erected after the earthquake in the small town of Ichinoseki (125,000 inhabitants). Sae Kani, advisor disaster management in Japan for Malteser International and Caritas Austria, is very happy about the enormous support: “We are very glad that thanks to the people’s generosity the children of Fujinosono will soon be able to live safely in a new, earthquake-resistant house.”
The strong earthquake of 11 March 2011 caused severe damage to the home. Due to the danger of collapse several rooms are now uninhabitable. The children and youth were severely shocked and traumatised and have to live under very difficult conditions. Despite psychological support, every aftershock causes new fear and fright. The construction of a new building is the only viable and sustainable solution. The children and youth living at Fujinosono stem, for the most part, from underprivileged families that are not able to care for them; they were often abused or neglected, and many suffer from trauma or other mental disorders, while some are orphans.
Roland Hansen, head of Asia & Haiti Department of Malteser International, at present is in Ichinoseki and Tokyo in order to see the situation on the ground and coordinate the next steps. “The children and the staff of Fujinosono have been closely involved in the planning of their new home”, he explains. Furthermore, a pilot project will be developed for northern Japan thanks to the eco-friendly construction type which was requested by the staff after the earthquake. The home will be equipped with an independent energy system based on renewable energies and will thus be prepared for future disasters and render a service to the environment as evacuation centre with water and energy supply. After the earthquake of March 2011, the children – like numerous households in the region - had to do live without electricity and warm water.
Attention Editors: Sae Kani, advisor disaster management in Japan, and Roland Hansen, head of the Asia & Haiti department of Malteser International, are available for interviews.
In order to continue providing relief for those affected by disasters and crisis, Malteser International kindly asks for donations:
Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 100 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work. For further information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.org
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