29.11.2011 - von By Dr Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA.
Kesennuma is located 300 miles northeast of Tokyo in Miyagi. This once prosperous town was near the epicenter of the March 11 earthquake that triggered the tsunami. Today IFA is asking who is caring now - now that the acute response and relief efforts have diminished. IFA members and readers of our Enews donated just over $12,000CAN.
Together with IFA Director and President of Friends of IFA Japan Dr Hisashi Hozumi, Vice President Mr Ayuk Christian and Mr Uehara from the Carers Association I had the honor of visiting two long term care facilities which had used the funds to purchase much needs equipment - but this is just a start.
From the conversations we had with Mr Uehara and some of the staff in the facilities, we were informed that more than 100 staff including their relatives died in the disasters. Despite residents being carried and helped to the second floor and roof of facilities over 50 older people died in one facility. Many older people in the facilities have not only been displaced from their home but have learned of the deaths of all members of their immediate family. The distress of residents and staff is contagiously painful and coupled with the raw emotions of intense vulnerability. Interim facilities are overcrowded, not private and at best supported those in most-need.
IFA is committed to continuing our support for these two facilities over a longer period of time. Mr Uehara remains a strong advocate for older people and works with industry, government and service providers to ensure that the lives of older people in Kesennuma are not forgotten, but respected and dignified.
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