Bus tour to learn disaster prevention                                                       How can we act in support of Tohoku?

防災学習ツアー ―東北支援へどうアクションを起こすか―

  Many people wish to do something for the Tohoku region devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. But they find it increasingly hard to put their wish into action. Now that the removal of debris and other reconstruction work relatively easier to do have all but been finished, volunteers do not know exactly what the afflicted people are really in need of.



Such volunteers may perhaps take part in a bus tour which Chuo University’s Volunteer Center organizes from time to time. It gives participants chances to visit Tohoku and hear directly from the local people about what happened in the 2011 disaster and how the reconstruction of the region has been progressing. This reporter joined the tour in the summer and could hear from the president of a leading local company and a member of the Kesennuma Municipal Assembly, persons one could hardly hope to meet alone.


For example, we were told that exports from the region to China fell to one-tenth of the pre-disaster level and that the reconstruction of the regional economy and the rehabilitation work in terms of hardware are often incompatible as exemplified by the local industry that got stacked up by the work to uplift the level of the submerged roads. Those accounts were really informative in understanding the actual conditions in the region. Visiting the region in a group, not alone, proved more effective because you could deepen your understanding through the opinions and questions put by other participants. You could know your ideas and points of view are different from those of others.


The most important thing in volunteer activity is for you to act in full consideration of the feelings of the people you wish to help. That will of course require you to have a better knowledge of the situation in which those people find themselves. This bus tour surely helps you get that knowledge and chances to act. It may give you a foothold for your actual actions and contributions. You may be able to take the first step in supporting the needy people in Tohoku.


 (Written by: Takahiro Kusunoki)


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