The Kumamoto Earthquake Report 10:
Smiles, once again
May 11th 2016
Most of the schools in Kumamoto have restarted, but there are schools that still continue to serve as evacuation centers. Evacuees, once recorded 183,882 individuals, have now decreased to 12,099 individuals as of May 10th (announced by Kumamoto prefectural office.) While restarting these schools, there were attempts to merge various evacuation centers, but there are people with various vulnerabilities that make it challenging to shift to a new place. Such issues with evacuation centers still continue.
“It’s such a delight to see you once again”, said YMCA staff of a fitness/sport facility in Kumamoto city, to the parents who came back with their children. The earthquakes have definitely increased risk awareness among the staff and parents, and confirmation of evacuation route within the building was one of the first things done in this reunion. For those who came, an opportunity to share their experience, information, feeling, and challenge seems to be one of the reasons to reunite.
A mother of 3-year-old, Nonoka shared, My daughter rejoined kindergarten a few days ago, but as many children were crying from anxiety, she said she doesn’t want to go again. She also tells me to switch off the TV when there is an image of earthquake on it.” Some experts also indicate that consequence of psychological stress from such disasters could emerge days, weeks, or even months after the actual disaster.
Hironobu (in the 3rd photo), a 5-year-old, continues to hug his mother when there is an aftershock. His mother said, “During this time of evacuation, there wasn’t an opportunity for him to exercise.” Exercise program at YMCA was something they were looking forward to, as a start of a new phase since the disaster. Ryosei (3-year-old), Kosei (6-year-old), and Yusei (9-year old) (in the 4th photo) try to stay together as much as possible, due to anxiety of being alone. The mother of these three children shared with us how the parents woke up the children at midnight, when the earthquake struck. Yusei’s reflection of this past month, in his word, was “boring.” When they were told they would come to the exercise program at this YMCA, they got filled with joy, and it reminded their parents of what ‘ordinary’ was…it brought happiness in their lives.
Recovering from the disaster is not just reconstruction. The earthquake has caused immense damages to the area, including people’s psychosocial minds. Returning to YMCA facilities and programs is a small, but definitely a tangible step towards recovering what was ‘ordinary’ in their lives.
Name : The National Council of YMCAs of Japan
Address : 7 Honshio-cho Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo
Beneficiary Bank : THE BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI UFJ,LTD.
Branch Name : YOTSUYA BRANCH
Bank Address : 3-2-1 YOTSUYA SHINJUKU-KU TOKYO
Swift code : BOTKJPJT
Account Number : 051-0111494
The National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Church World Service Japan are working together as partner for relief activities in Kumamoto Earthquake.
Interviewer and photo taken by: Ryoji Inaba, YMCA Kumamoto
English translation: Takeshi Komino, CWS Japan
|Name||The National Council of YMCAs of JAPAN|