Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995

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10 Years from 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Publication date:2021-03-11
 
By Dr. Shigeru Suganami
President, AMDA International

Even for someone like me who lives far away from the eastern part of Japan, the decade since the catastrophic earthquake struck the region on 11 March 2011 felt like a long time. Especially, these 10 years must have been a lifetime for those who were directly affected by it. On this solemn day of commemoration, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to those who are still withstanding adversity. At the same time, I thank all of our donors for supporting us along the way in carrying out our humanitarian aid work.

In July 2018, Okayama (where we are located) was also hit by torrential rains which caused extensive flooding in the Soja-Mabi area. It was at this occasion that I came to remind myself what “mutual assistance” truly meant. In reciprocation for the given assistance at the time of the 2011 disaster, I saw aid workers from northeast Japan being dispatched to work with Soja City Government to render assistance.

Disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction not only give us hope for the future but also owe us debts. What this means is when we lose hope, we often abandon ourselves to despair, and this eventually leads us to a deadlock. However, we must also remember that this will not go on forever.

In the last 10 years, AMDA carried out an array of disaster reconstruction efforts in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, all of which were hit hard by the 2011 calamity. While implementing initiatives such as “AMDA Scholarship for the Great East Japan Earthquake Victims” and “AMDA Otsuchi Health Support Center”, one project to note was a food-related event named “Disaster Reconstruction Gourmet F-1” which was organized between January 2013 and November 2019.

The food event was held in cooperation with local business associations and individual business owners from the three prefectures with the following objectives: 1) to deepen ties between affected communities, 2) to develop affordable locally-sourced food products, and 3) to bring people back to local commercial districts. Needless to say, each was aimed at the sharing of joy among all participants and visitors.
 

AMDA Otsuchi Health Support Center

Disaster Reconstruction Gourmet F-1

 

Although the event was discontinued in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hoping to sustain its legacy by launching a virtual market using the latest IT technology. While the pillar concept of the event remains much the same, we are convinced that more people can take part in it by bringing in whatever local products they want to offer.

The aforementioned food event has another dimension to it. That is, in the case of emergency, I would like to ask those who have involved in the event in the past to act as local disaster coordinators. This is because they know how things work in emergency situations. As knowledge and experience become wisdom, mutual assistance transcends time.

 

Disaster-related forum in 2019

Founded in 1984, AMDA has built a vast human network over the last 37 years at home and abroad. And I firmly believe now is the time to make use of it. The spirit of Sogo-Fujo (mutual assistance) is an asset to humanity. I strongly feel it is my duty to respond to people’s needs in the most concrete way possible.

Last but not least, we do hope our humanitarian activities will continue to resonate with you in the years to come.
 
    •  Japan
    •  2011
    •  2021
    •  East Japan Earthquake

 
 
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