Although one year has passed, there are still many areas of Tohoku that still look much the same as they did right after the disaster. The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) has launched a new campaign, “Flowers and Messages for Tohoku” to help add some much-needed beauty to the area. People are asked to contribute ¥1,000 to have marigolds, begonias, and other seasonal flowers to people in the affected areas in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefecture. The project has multiple goals. One is to help bring beauty back to the disaster zone. Another is to provide an emotional boost to victims of the disaster, both through the therapeutic effects of tending for flowers and through the accompanying messages of encouragement that are to be sent, letting people know that they are not forgotten. A third goal is economic aid since the flowers will be purchased from florists in the affected area and from facilities for people with disabilities.
Earlier this month, AMDA outlined the four components of its three-year program of support for Tohoku’s recovery.
(1) Dispatching Medical Volunteers: AMDA is continuing to support hospitals in Tohoku that are suffering from chronic manpower shortages by sending volunteer medical specialists, particularly during peak seasons.
(2) AMDA Otsuchi Health Support Center: This center is intended to contribute to health enhancement and community rebuilding. Local members of the center are also reaching out to other affected communities in Tohoku, uniting resources to work toward common recovery.
(3) Supporting the Young in Tohoku: AMDA is providing financial assistance to support education of young people in the region. It is encouraging them to communicate with other communities in Japan and abroad. In addition to a scholarship program, AMDA is supporting a high school club in Otsuchi, sports and cultural exchange programs, and the provision of school supplies and uniforms.
(4) Ad Hoc Projects: This includes a variety of projects, such as support for the homeless in Sendai, and sending beds and supplies to a hospital in Kesennuma.