Cologne. In remembrance of the day a devastating earthquake hit Japan, the children and staff of the children’s home Fujinosono will eat only emergency food rations on 11 March. “In this way, the children and youth will commemorate the victims and, at the same time, express their gratitude for the help they received”, says Sister Caelina Mauer, director of the children’s home located in the city of Ichinoseki in north-eastern Japan, which was heavily damaged and made uninhabitable by the earthquake. The children will be served a lunch of instant soup, and dinner will consist of rice prepared with cold water and canned fish – the same meal eaten on the evening of 11 March 2011.
Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s relief service for humanitarian aid, is supporting the construction of a new home for Fujinosono with five million euros. This sum includes donations from the international Caritas network as well as private and corporate donations worldwide. The old children’s home is currently being demolished, and the children have lived in a temporary container home since last Christmas. The new energy-efficient home will be built according to the latest earthquake resistance standards, will rely on renewable energies for a large part of its electricity supply, and will function as an evacuation centre for Ichinoseki residents in case of disaster.
The construction plans for the new building are currently still under negotiation. Despite a foreseen delay in the construction schedule due to a drastic increase in costs since the earthquake, the children should be able to move into their new home in 2013.
In the morning of 11 March, a church service will be held to remember the dead and missing. In the afternoon, the 60 children and their caretakers will participate in a national minute of silence, scheduled for 2:46 p.m. local time. They will then light candles and proceed to the place where they sought shelter in the previous year: the home’s gymnasium. “This day is important as a reminder that we should never forget what happened”, Sister Caelina says. “But it is also a day that brings us together. In suffering, one is never alone”.
Attention editors: Sae Kani, Malteser International’s advisor for disaster management in Japan, will be available for interviews in Japan starting on 6 March. Contact through Malteser International’s headquarters at +49 (0) 221 98 22-169.
Pictures are available for download here. Higher resolution can be provided on demand.
Help support our efforts in Japan – please donate!
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 100 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.int