CASE 27「Tottori Earthquake Disaster Support Liaison Council (Tottori Prefecture, Japan)」
Main Article - Christmas party 2019 in Tottori
A Christmas party was held by Tottori Earthquake Disaster Support Liaison Council on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at Tottori Jinken Koryu Plaza in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture. About 20 people came to the event, including support staff, student volunteers, and evacuees in Tottori.
Tottori Earthquake Disaster Support Liaison Council was founded in March 2012. Its mission is to help the people who evacuated to Tottori Prefecture after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster adjust to their new lives and get in contact with each another. The council has been undertaking projects outsourced from Tottori Prefecture to support evacuees since December 2012. Having set up an office during this time, it continues to work on a variety of supporting projects in cooperation with groups, citizens, and municipalities in the prefecture that support its activities. Its main activities include holding networking events, providing counseling, visiting individual evacuees, offering thyroid checkups, visiting the disaster-affected areas, and building networks of supporters.
As the last event of the year, the Christmas party was mainly attended by evacuees in Tottori, with some also coming from Shimane. With activities like cake decorating and a Christmas concert, a merry time was had by all. As a special treat, the local band KAMATANIBAND came to perform for the Christmas concert. They captivated the hearts of everyone there with a broad selection of songs ranging from nostalgic oldies to the latest hits. The participants all cheered and clapped enthusiastically, and everyone soon came together as one. There are still 76 evacuees living in Tottori Prefecture (as of November 2019, as reported by the Reconstruction Agency). Networking events like this are a chance for them to get some comfort.
Supporters (volunteers from Tottori University) who agreed participate in the interview shared some valuable opinions. For example, one of them said, "Although there is a limit to what we can actually do, I want to think and act from the evacuees' perspective." Sharing his own passionate resolve, the president of Tottori Earthquake Disaster Support Liaison Council, Kiyomi Kawanishi, said, "We are going to support the evacuees over the long term, listening to their problems and helping to solve them as if they were our own." Seeing the participants, staff, and supporters all smiling and talking together on an equal footing, I was filled with a strong hope that events of this kind will continue to be held in the future.
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