The “Smile Parks” project started in February 2012, which was one of the largest mobile indoor playgrounds provided in Fukushima prefecture, was successfully completed. It enabled children to play safely in an environment in which their parents did not need to worry about exposure to radiation. Since July 2013, new features had been incorporated into Smile Parks, such as an educational programme and weekend shows by famous cartoon characters. The park provided an air-running track, a ball-pool, a ring toss game, climbing sessions, drawing and cultural classes, and sports trials. The total number of participants was 86,584 since 2012. The Smile Park project was highly appreciated by both children and parents. Currently, the number of indoor playgrounds provided by municipalities or other agencies has been gradually increased within Fukushima, enabling JRCS to close the project.
On 1 October 2013, JRCS nuclear disaster resource centre was officially opened in the JRCS NHQ building. At the same time, the centre’s digital archive system was made available to the public on the internet. Also, the first Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar was held in December 2013 at the JRCS NHQ. The President of JRCS gave the opening speech and the Director General of the JRCS nuclear disaster resource centre explained the role of the centre. An Executive Director of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and Deputy Director General of the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital gave keynote speeches. The speakers and participants actively exchanged views on nuclear disaster response. In addition, frequent discussion and information sharing on nuclear disaster took place among IFRC, PNSs and JRCS during this reporting period.
Due to high demand from evacuees in Iwaki, Fukushima, JRCS decided to extend the duration of its home visits project. From October to December 2013, the project benefited an additional 129 evacuees (56 households) and 198 evacuees (96 households) with a second round of visits. JRCS also established an “infirmary for Namie people” in October, using funds from the government. The infirmary team and the home visit teams work closely together to create a synergy effect.
JRCS supported construction of public housing in Otsuchi town in Iwate. Housing and community centres, which will accommodate 730 households, are planned, with JRCS partially financing the construction. In August 2013, construction of homes for 104 households was completed. These are the first public housing projects in this municipality.
The occupancy rates of the completed housing have reached more than 97 per cent. A further public housing development for 21 households was built in November 2013.
Further housing for 605 households is in the process of planning and design.
A communal housing construction project in Shinchi, Fukushima, aims to provide permanent housing for elderly aged over 65 years who have lost their homes. The development includes a community room to prevent residents from feeling isolated and it has an earthquake- and typhoon-resistant structure, which can accommodate 22 households, most of whom have now moved in after the opening ceremony in November 2013.
The city of Soma in Fukushima has completed the construction of public housing in four towns, also with a focus on preventing isolation among the elderly with support of JRCS.
The construction of three public housing developments in Babano, Minamitosaki and Kitsunaeana was completed by March 2013. Construction of the last complex in Hosoda district was completed in November 2013.
JRCS supported municipalities in the affected areas in strengthening their preparedness for future disasters, providing equipment and storage facilities for disaster preparedness. The equipment includes generators, cord reels, floodlights, lanterns, portable toilets and partitions. A total of 432 storage facilities have been installed in 26 municipalities by December 2013.
Since April 2013, JRCS Iwate Chapter has adopted a new approach in the psychosocial programme, combining Nordic style walking and psychosocial care services, to make it easier for beneficiaries to join in the activities with which they feel most comfortable. From October to December, 26 events - either combined sessions or tea parties - were held, with 277 participants. Psychosocial care events by JRCS Miyagi Chapter have also included a popular new feature activity: health workshops by volunteer nurses. The event, held eight times, attracted 275 residents in this reporting period. These events brought good opportunities for the disaster survivors to talk about their thoughts, memories and anxieties informally.
During this reporting period, 29 Nordic style walking events were held with, 199 participants in Iwate and five events with 140 participants in Fukushima. JRCS staff members and volunteers were careful to accommodate a range of walking paces for the experienced, the first timers and participants with walking difficulties. The needs were well-covered and the participants enjoyed the walk.
An external evaluation for JRCS recovery operations was carried out from February to March 2013, jointly commissioned by JRCS and IFRC. The evaluation report was formally submitted to JRCS in early September 2013. A former IFRC representative in Japan, a team leader of the evaluation team, and a JRCS representative presented the contents of an evaluation – recommendations and lessons - at a side-event of the Federation’s 3 General Assembly in Sydney in November.
The budget of the JRCS relief and recovery programme stands at JPY 60 billion of which 74.7 per cent (JPY 44.7 billion) has been spent by the end of December 2013.