Applying nearly a century of relief expertise as the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, JDC mobilized within hours of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. JDC partnered with Japanese, Israeli, U.S., and other international partners to provide critically needed food and emergency supplies, medical assistance, and vital services for affected populations in the hardest-hit areas.
In the aftermath of the disaster, JDC was determined to make a significant impact in the country’s affected areas by providing psychosocial training and support to victims of the tragedy.
Over the past six months, JDC’s activities in Japan have included a number of project developments:
- JDC worked with the Israel Trauma Coalition to implement two training visits to develop psychosocial capacity among professionals and volunteers in disaster areas.
- JDC’s team working on the Hibuki program, which is designed to alleviate post-traumatic stress among young children, traveled to Japan for a second time to complete training on the Hibuki program among Japanese educational, medical, and psychological professionals, and to work with children and their families who experienced trauma following the disaster.
- Over the summer, JDC sponsored children’s programming in the Buddhist Komyoji Temple, which itself sustained damage during the disaster and continues to serve a nearby community affected by the tragedy. Programming included interfaith activities with the Jewish community of Tokyo.
- JDC continues to support JEN, a local NGO, in establishing community cafes for disaster-affected populations living in both temporary shelters and host communities. In recent months, local community leadership has taken on a greater role in overseeing programs in the cafés and there has been expansion of café activities beyond the local neighborhoods to the broader city population.
- JDC has continued supporting the Nippon Foundation’s efforts in fostering the psychological health of deaf and hearing-impaired victims of the disaster. In order to facilitate a successful exit strategy, efforts are now being made to move severe cases under the oversight of local authorities so that these individuals can receive long-term care.