The Singapore Red Cross and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Japanese prefecture officials, today opened the Taro Support Centre in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
The Centre will serve more than 1,000 evacuees, who have been living in a temporary housing development, since the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This will include the 400 households currently residing in three temporary housing blocs closest to the centre. It is also expected to serve parts of Taro Ward within 10 km radius of the facility, which will include another 200 households in the vicinity. The centre will be managed by a social welfare association Taro Washinkai, which has 10 care workers on duty to provide services to the elderly. The centre also has rehabilitation facilities and equipment for the elderly, who constitute more than 30 percent of the residents.
In July 2011, the Memorandum of Cooperation for the construction of a temporary care centre in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, to be funded by the Singapore Red Cross, was signed between the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Mr Akihiro Ohata, Singapore Ambassador to Japan Mr Tan Chin Tiong and Governor of Iwate Prefecture Mr Takuya Tasso. The S$1.05 million Taro Support Centre is the first reconstruction project funded by the S$35 million collected through a public appeal between March and April 2011, to be completed.
Governor of Iwate Prefecture Mr Takuya Tasso told Singapore officials that "the people of Miyako City are grateful for this timely and impactful donation.” He added that “the Taro Support Centre, which Singapore and Japan have worked closely and tirelessly on, is a symbol of the good ties between the two countries.”
“The Singapore Red Cross will press on in the delivery of other recovery projects aimed to improve the survivors’ lives. We have received overwhelming support from the Singapore donor community, and will ensure that the funds are used in the most effective and impactful way,“ said Mr Lim Theam Poh, Director of Operations and Head of International Services, Singapore Red Cross.
Appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the lead agency to coordinate Singapore’s relief efforts to Japan, the Singapore Red Cross has to date received S$35.2 million, in response to its public appeal to assist survivors. This includes S$500,000 from the Singapore Government. Details of SRC efforts include:
- Emergency Relief – Cash contribution of US$1 million, providing basic necessities to Japanese families placed in temporary housing in the immediate aftermath of the disasters.
- Relief Supplies – Two tranches of relief supplies comprising bottles of water, collapsible water containers, blankets and mattresses
- Restoring Family Links (RFL) – 25 families successfully matched through the RFL tracing service, that assists Singaporeans and Japanese in locating their immediate family members who may have been affected by the disaster and whom they have difficulty in contacting.
- Recovery Projects - S$34 million worth of recovery projects in the Tohoku region, including a multi-purpose hall cum evacuation centre, a nursery school, household items for transitional houses and 10 mini-cars to facilitate transfer for nursing care.