Singapore Red Cross completes fourth tsunami rebuilding project in Japan

Singapore Red Cross completes fourth tsunami rebuilding project in Japan

A $11.1 million multi-purpose community hall, which was funded by donations from Singapore, has been officially opened in Japan's Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture.

The community hall is one of the four major rebuilding projects undertaken with donations from the people of Singapore following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

It is also the final rebuilding project the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has delivered to the community four years after the tsunami struck Japan.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam said: "Our sympathy and unity with Japan led to a tremendous outpouring of support and contribution to help the victims of the disaster. The donation drive supported by the government and launched by SRC raised over $35 million."

Other facilities that were funded by the SRC include the Taro Support Centre in Miyako, the Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School, as well as the Isobe Community Centre.

Secretary General of Singapore Red Cross, Mr Benjamin William, told AsiaOne, "Given the scale of the devastation which the tsunami had inflicted, we were keenly aware that our contribution would only constitute a small part of the massive recovery and rebuilding efforts. However, we want to maximise our efforts by carefully and wisely choosing the projects we were embarking on. We have chosen infrastructure projects with lasting impact and focused on the more vulnerable groups - a nursery for the young, a care centre for the elderly, and community halls which double up as evacuation centre."

Japanese officials AsiaOne spoke to said that after the tsunami hit, the affected towns' population were badly affected especially due to loss of housing so attracting residents back was their biggest issue to tackle.

Projects such as the nursery school provided much needed infrastructure to aid in this population growth.

The community continues to be very grateful for the generous support from Singapore, and when the nursery school was reopened in May 2013, the name "Lion Park" was selected to become the new nickname of the school.

The name came about after the town of Shichigahama put out a public appeal for a name that would represent the school's deep bonds with Singapore.

tayyta@sph.com.sg

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