Cologne. “The children are terrified. Whenever there are new aftershocks, such as last night, they wake up scared and crying. They are still afraid and refuse to take off their clothes at night, so they can quickly run away. That’s why we also have to leave our doors open at night, despite the bitter cold.” This is the latest report given by Sister Caelina, director of the children’s home in Ichinoseki and project partner of Malteser International, the relief service of the Order of Malta for worldwide humanitarian aid. New aftershocks happen time and time again in Japan. The shock of the massive earthquake of March 11 has still not been completely overcome, says Sister Caelina.
The children have been showing stronger signs of trauma caused by the disaster in the past two days, says the Franciscan nun. “We need more help for the boys and girls beyond the psychological and social support they’ve been given thus far,” she points out. “The trauma will not be overcome for a long time yet.” In addition, damages to the home have been so severe that the building will have to be entirely reconstructed. “At the moment, it looks as though we will have to first demolish half of the children’s home – during that time we will have to live in the other half. After the demolished half is reconstructed, we will move in there and rebuild the second half.”
But not all has been grim in the earthquake aftermath. The German nun, who has lived in Japan for 19 years, is moved by the show of solidarity she has received from all over the world. “It is amazing how committed people have been to us”, she said on a telephone interview with Malteser International. “This show of solidarity is very welcome, as we have much to rebuild here – people’s hearts as well as their homes.”
Through fundraising events, people all over the world have been helping Malteser International in assisting its project partners in Japan. In France, Italy, Singapore, Austria, Germany and the U.S.A., the national associations of the Order of Malta have organised fund drives to collect donations from its members; a benefit concert in Austria’s Steyregg castle will count on artists of the Austrian National Theatre and of the Bruckner Orchestra; in Germany, a Dresden hotel will cancel its 15th anniversary celebration and donate the party fund, 10,000 Euros, to the children’s home instead.
For more updated information on Malteser International’s help in Japan, visit our website.
Help support the relief efforts in Japan – please donate!
Donation Account 2020270
IBAN: DE74 3706 0193 0002 0202 70
Pax Bank Cologne
Reference: Disasters Japan
Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 200 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work. For further information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.org