Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief (189th report)
Minamisanriku Town Mayor visits UNICEF House and shares thoughts on reconstruction

Minamisanriku Town Mayor Jin Sato (left) and JCU Executive Director Ken Hayami (right) at the UNICEF House.

On 4 April, Minamisanriku Town Mayor Jin Sato visited the UNICEF House in Tokyo, where he expressed his gratitude for the great assistance received from people around the world through the Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU).

Minamisanriku Town (Miyagi Prefecture) was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and accompanying tsunami. Nearly half of the town residents lost their lives and many buildings were destroyed, including government offices, fire stations, hospitals and schools. The mayor himself was forced to flee the tsunami by seeking refuge on the rooftop of a fire station.

Two years have now passed since the disaster and Minamisanriku Town is slowly reconstructing itself. JCU has continued to provide the town with much-needed assistance, including school supplies and school equipment, and rebuilding kindergarten buildings and health centres.

Children at Asahi Kindergarten in Minamisanriku Town. The new building was completed in July 2012 with the assistance of JCU.

Mayor Sato spoke of his efforts to support reconstruction in the face of much adversity, including his ongoing search to secure staff in order to overcome the lack of human resources, how there are many challenges to securing space to conduct reconstruction activities, and how plans need to be modified while they are being implemented. Mayor Sato's strong energy and passion for reconstruction shine through when he speaks about efforts to rebuild his town.

Japan Committee for UNICEF Executive Director Ken Hayami responded by reaffirming JCU's commitment to continued support for Minamisanriku and its children as they work toward reconstruction centred in the areas of psychosocial care, child protection and child-friendly reconstruction planning.

All photo credits: © Japan Committee for UNICEF

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