Short-Term Emergency Response Activities
Memorial Services: In Japanese culture, memorial services are a critical element of the grieving process. Given the dramatic loss of life due to the tsunami these services are vitally important in assisting with individual, family, and even community inner healing and grieving. The funds raised will go towards supporting these memorial services. Due to the loss of many local religious leaders in the district they have invited priests from neighboring areas to come in and assist the remaining priests. The visiting priests will work closely with the local priests to ensure that the memorial services are inline with local tradition.
Relief Supply Distribution: In collaboration with the Jodo Shu Buddhist denomination and The Miyagi Division the project will collect and distribute relief supplies for victims who are still in their homes. Most of them are elders living alone and are not receiving the public support going to the thousands who lost their homes.
Counseling Rooms at the Places of Mourning: Counseling rooms have been arranged by the Prefectural Association of Religious Leaders (Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto and others) to provide space for families to receive religious counseling on their loss. While the family waits for the service they can to talk about their religious concerns with religious leaders who have been trained in how to acting compassionately. In Japan this practice is called “sitting next to their heart”.
Clean-Up: Clean rubble and mud from the temples, and houses near the temples, hit by the tsunami.
Mid to Long-Term Recovery Activities
Temporary Housing: It is necessary to build temporary housing as soon as possible. Currently schools are being used as the evacuation shelters making it difficult for children to return to school.
Psychological Support: The priests are concerned about the emotional and mental toll that the tsunami has had on the survivors. They have identified the following areas that need support:
Children need support in dealing with the psychological stress that the disaster has placed upon them.
The elderly and people with disabilities are in need of additional care and support. Caregivers’ exhaustion is at its peak in having to care for themselves and others.
Cultural Entertainment Events: Music concerts, exhibitions, and a variety of performances may help bring back smiles on people’s faces, a very important Japanese value.