Disaster Relief

Child-Friendly Space opens in Japan

Editor's note: In the aftermath of tragedy and disaster, World Vision uses Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) to care for children by providing them with a safe place to learn, play and emotionally recover from the trauma they've faced. (For more on how we use CFS, read Freedom of imagination) The following was shared with us by Nanako Otsuki, communications officer with World Vision Japan.

Zenin syugo, meaning "everyone gathering together", is the name children in Tome City have come up with for their new playing ground, a World Vision CFS. The name fits perfectly for its purpose, providing children with a venue to come together and share their experiences as they begin the road to recovery.

All the children come from Minami Sanriku, a town that was almost completely destroyed by the tsunami. Right now, they're living in an evacuation center. They don't know when classes will start again; most of their schools were destroyed. Most of them have lost their homes, and many have loved ones who have been confirmed dead. They seek a sense of normalcy after having their lives turned upside down.

"What I want to do"

[caption id="attachment_3438" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Staff at the Child-Friendly Space encourage the children to write and draw their desires. (Itoh Kei/WV/2011)"][/caption]

In the first gathering here, World Vision’s Child Protection Specialist, Makiba Yamano, and other World Vision Japan staff sought to hear the voices of the children. The children wrote down what they wanted to do at the CFS on a piece of paper and made their favorite figure with origami paper.

“I want to play a piano!!” (Minaho, age 12)

“I want to play soccer with eight people.” (Rin, age 8 )

“I want to play cards with other friends.” (RIe, age 12)

“I want to play baseball with everyone.” (Takahiro, age 11)

"What makes me worried"

[caption id="attachment_3439" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Takuma (age 11), Takahiro (age 11), and Syoki (age 12) write "what makes them worried." (Itoh Kei/WV/2011)"][/caption]

The children also wrote down “what makes them worried” and shared their experiences with one another.

“I wonder if I can go to the same junior high school with my old friends.” (Shiori, age 12)

Suffer together, rebuild together -- notes from a Japan aid worker

March 29, 2011- It’s 7:00 am, an aftershock shakes the building awake. It's big, lasts for maybe 30 seconds. Even two weeks after the quake and tsunami, tremors and ripples continue to wreak havoc and remind survivors of their fears and losses. I’m in Miyagi, one of the hardest-hit areas, with World Vision’s emergency response team. We’re....

Freedom of imagination

One of the many measures being planned by World Vision to care for the needs of children after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are Child-Friendly Spaces — safe, supervised learning and playing places where kids can be kids in a post-traumatic environment. They receive psycho-social "first aid" through counseling and structured activities like playtime, music, and art.....

"I am so grateful" -- a tsunami survivor's story

Sachie is the mother of one year and four month old Kouka. She told World Vision Japan about the day when earthquake occurred. This is her story: “Kouka was having a nap in the house when the earthquake occurred. I took Kouka right away and ran out side, but the earth was shaking for quite a long time." ....

Do's and don'ts of supporting disaster relief

In the last week in Japan, over 7,000 people have died. Close to another 11,000 are missing. Over 2,500 suffer from injuries. We all want to help. But it’s the wanting to help that’s the easy part. It’s how best to help, that is the real question. Sometimes our good intentions....

Children are our hope -- notes from a Japan aid worker

Editor’s note: The following note is from Mitsuko Sobata, World Vision Japan communications and advocacy officer, on the ground with World Vision relief and assessment teams.

March 18, 2011- Yesterday, World Vision Japan relief teams .....

Pros 4Japan in Uganda

In partnership with World Vision U.S., a group of professional football players is in Uganda this week doing humanitarian aid work with PROS FOR AFRICA. The athletes become pros 4Japan, too, helping to raise funds and awareness for children affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan

The players are asking people at home....

Notes from a Japan aid worker

The following notes are from Mitsuko Sobata, World Vision Japan communications and advocacy officer, on the ground with World Vision relief and assessment teams. March 17, 2011- Today, our relief items arrived with two trucks with diapers, blankets, water and wet wipes....

8 ways to talk to kids about disasters

With the ever-growing, constantly moving, never sleeping media environment we live in today, kids are some of the first to see or hear about tragedy and disaster around the corner, or around the world. But as kids are exposed more and more to disturbing news footage....

Skype interview with World Vision relief worker in Japan

Emergency communications officer with World Vision U.S. Casey Calamusa was deployed to Japan 38 hours after the massive 8.9-magnitude quake on Friday, March 11. I chatted with Casey on Skype last night. Thanks to those of you who tweeted in questions. Here's what he had to say....

Rich Stearns on the Japan quake and tsunami [Video]

If the Japan earthquake and tsunami had happened 100 years ago, most of us would not even be aware that it had happened. Perhaps a telegram would have been sent to the U.S. and perhaps a small story might have appeared in major newspapers, but other than that, it would have had little effect on our consciousness...

Japan quake and tsunami updates + video

The latest updates on World Vision's efforts and response following Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami. Two ways to donate to Japan quake and tsunami relief -- Text '4JAPAN' to '20222' to give a $10 donation. Or donate online. For updates....

8.9-magnitude earthquake hits coast of Japan, island nations face tsunami warning

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit near the northeast coast of Japan today. Pacific Rim countries are bracing for potential tsunamis. World Vision staff members are on high alert, preparing to respond.

Staff on high alert across region, preparing for response: Asian, North American, and South American countries on the Pacific Rim are facing tsunami...

Coming 'home' to uncertainty

When the president of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, visited the South Sudanese city of Juba a few days ahead of the January 9 referendum, I was among the thousands who turned up to welcome him. Despite the scorching sun, I humbly joined my countrymen to welcome His Excellency the President. He reiterated that he would be the first to recognize...

Buried for two days beneath the rubble in Haiti

Earthquake survivor, Faradhia, stands at the former site of the Caribbean Market where she was once buried for 50 hours -- the rubble now cleared away and the foundation visible behind her. A powerful experience, it was the first time she had returned to the site since she was rescued. (Mary Kate MacIsaac/WV)

Faradhia Moise walked into the Caribbean Market to pick up dinner for herself and her parents – they were going to have pizza that night – when the floor started to shake. “There was a really loud noise, and I thought the building was about to collapse,” she said, recalling that fateful day last January.  She turned, ran, and then it was dark.

“I could not really move,” she said.  “I was stuck there.” Broken bottles of ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce surrounded her, and screams filled the air.  It would be another 50 hours before she would see the light of day again.

Haiti: One year report

On 12 January 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Haiti, the most powerful quake to hit in more than 200 years. The impact and aftershocks were devastating.

One year ago today, a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti. Today, the World Vision family around the world celebrates relief accomplishments made so far, prays for the years ahead, and remembers those whose lives were lost. Wherever you are today, please pray for those in Haiti who are working tirelessly to provide children and families with shelter and other necessities, and for those whose memories of the earthquake are still raw and painful.

The following is an excerpt from a letter from Kevin Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International

World Vision’s response to the earthquake began immediately. Many of our colleagues were victims themselves and were struggling to find their families in the rubble. Nevertheless, enough were able to respond that we had our first distributions within 24 hours.