Japan will take years to rebuild communities
ISHINOMAKI COMMUNITIES in Japan destroyed by the tsunami are years away from being righted, the Red Cross warned on Friday, with many of the displaced stuck in temporary housing for a long time to come.
“What has been achieved in a year is extraordinary,” Patrick Fuller, communications manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told AFP.
But the country remains a long way from where it needs to be if those affected by the disaster are going to feel that they have their lives back.
“The reconstruction process and revitalising the economy will take years,” he said.
The Red Cross was one of the most active aid organisations in the months after the 9.0 magnitude quake and resulting tsunami battered the northeast coast of Japan on March 11 last year.
Medical teams funded by the body were stationed in evacuation centres and relief packages were distributed to those who had lost their homes in the nation’s worst post-war tragedy.
In recent months, the Red Cross has been providing a package of electrical items — such as a fridge, television and rice cooker — for 125,000 families in temporary homes, Fuller said.
“One of the main issues now is the welfare of people living in temporary homes, particularly the elderly,” he said.
“A lot of (the elderly) are fairly disoriented because they had to move away from the place where they had lived all their lives, they are living among strangers in many places.”