On 11 March 2011, Japan was struck by the most devastating earthquake in the country’s history. The resulting tsunami flooded large parts of the north-eastern coastline and led to the disaster in the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Swiss Solidarity received 18.8 million francs in donations and after emergency relief is now supporting an extensive rebuilding project of the Swiss Red Cross and Caritas: part of a former hospital is being converted to provide accommodation and comprehensive care for 100 elderly people in need.
Over 70 per cent of buildings were destroyed in the area of north-eastern Japan that was hit by the disaster. The extent of damage and cost of rebuilding far exceeds the possibilities of the local authorities. After Swiss Solidarity carried out an on-the-spot evaluation, it was decided to give priority to one major project that can be implemented within a short time and bring rapid aid to those affected.
Many elderly people living in the affected region in north-eastern Japan lost everything in the disaster, and in many cases do not have the means to rebuild their livelihood. At present they are living in container villages. For this reason it was decided that the former district hospital, which was damaged by the tsunami, would be repaired and part converted into a residential home for the elderly, who could also be provided with medical care. It will accommodate 100 people and be ready for occupation in May.
The Swiss Red Cross and Caritas are working on this project as a joint consortium in cooperation with the Japanese Red Cross. Building work should be completed by the end of April. Swiss Solidarity is participating in the reconstruction to the sum of 15 million francs.
Emergency relief to the sum of 1.7 million francs carried out by Japanese partners of Swiss relief organizations immediately after the disaster was completed around six months later. Further aid projects involving rehabilitation are being examined by the project commission.