There are lots of events happening in London this weekend to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. I have chosen to support Seven Beach Aid‘s event, You Are Not Forgotten.
When I saw a Tweet asking for volunteers for the March 11th event, I didn’t hesitate to get involved. I knew that I would be missing out on other events in order to attend this one, but I felt that this was the right one for me. The event is taking place in Golders Green, North London, which is close to where I live. It’s nice to do something that’s part of a local community.
I first became aware of Seven Beach Aid last year when they had an exhibition called Yet I Still Dare to Hope. Before then, I had not heard of Shichigahama, home of Seven Beach Aid Director Angus Miyaji. Now I find myself wanting to go there and help.
Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about how the earthquake and tsunami affected Shichigahama:
The town estimates that over 1,000 houses were destroyed or damaged beyond use. The wave reached over 2km inland, flooding the fields in front of Koyo Junior High School and Shiomidai and scattering the debris of the homes from Shobutahama. Approximately 95% of the town’s rice fields were also flooded with seawater. 90 Shichigahama townspeople were confirmed to have died in the tsunami, 58 in Shichigahama and 32 in other locations, 6 townspeople were still missing and 7 non-townspeople were confirmed to have died in Shichigahama. Power, water and natural gas lines were damaged and many roads were impassable for days, except to rescue workers and self-defense forces. During this time, relief was delivered to the town by aid agencies. The conditions varied considerably between centres with Yoshidahama Community Centre evacuees going without meat for over a month while the Kokusaimura received the bulk of the aid and frequent visits from celebrities.
Over 4,000 people were initially evacuated to thirteen evacuation centres. People were slowly able to return to their homes, find alternative rental accommodation or relocate to the homes of family members, leaving 715 people in three shelters by April 27 and 229 people in two shelters (the Kokusaimura and Community Centre) by June 3. By Mid-June, everyone had been moved out of evacuation centres into alternative existing accommodation or town-provided temporary housing.
As the rescue activities were completed, relief and rebuilding efforts began. Temporary housing was built for 877 people at two sites: Shichigahama Sports Fields (151 homes, housing 569 people) and Shichigahama Junior High School Baseball Field (106 homes, housing 308 people). The homes are available to the residents for 2–3 years. The Japanese Self-Defence Force, who were instrumental in initial rescue and relief activities, continued to provide widespread support to the town. They cooked the food at the evacuation centres, provided temporary bathing facilities, and assisted in clearing debris. A volunteer centre was also established at the town community center, operated by volunteers and NGOs. The center coordinates the volunteer activities for hundreds of daily volunteers performing a range of tasks such as collecting and cleaning photos recovered from the debris, delivering donated items to the temporary homes, and clearing rubble and debris from sites of former homes.
Join us on Sunday in Golders Green if you can! If you can’t make it, the event will hopefully be broadcast live via U-Stream, and will also be recorded. Check the website for more details.
Seven Beach Aid presents
Sunday 11th March 2012
In association with Golders Green Parish Church
14:00 – 16:30 (doors open at 13:30)
(Golders Green Parish Church, West Heath Drive, London, NW11 7QG)
One year on from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami which devastated so much of the coastal area around Tohoku, Seven Beach Aid would like to invite everyone to send an important message to Japan: You Are Not Forgotten.
In this special event on Sunday 11th March 2012, there will be an opportunity to hear about the progress that has been made in Tohoku during the last year, and to light a candle for those who were affected.
- Listen to the experiences of people in Japan, and those who have helped.
- Live music from guitarist and singer Saara Takase, pianist Motoki Hirai and more…
- Craft activities for children.
- Photo exhibition.
- Upload a message to Japan!
- Light a candle for Japan.
- Special message and prayer for people suffering in Japan by Rev’d Rex Morton.
- Light refreshments will be provided.
The event will also be broadcast live over the Internet via Ustream. Check youarenotforgotten.org.uk for details.
Seven Beach Aid is a charity supporting the people of Shichigahama, a town in Miyagi prefecture, north-east Japan, which was badly affected by the 11 March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Our aim is to show support to Seven Beach (Shichigahama Town) and surrounding affected areas through an online community, by financial giving, and showing compassion and concern.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org