The Fukushima Prefecture Council of Social Welfare was established on the day of the earthquake, March 11. The Fukushima Disaster Volunteer Center (secretariat: Prefecture Council of Social Welfare and Community) was established by the Fukushima disaster volunteer liaison council in three days, and it has continued operations up until now. Municipal disaster volunteer centers were established over a period of one month and, as of September 11, disaster volunteer centers to assist the reconstruction of the lives of residents have been established in 33 municipalities.
Since the disaster struck, we have introduced various activities; the removal of debris, mud, washing of things left behind, shelter support, classification of support goods, removals to temporary housing, and arranging various support needs. As a unique approach in Fukushima Prefecture, a temple was opened as a day care center and accepted children from shelters who couldn’t play outside.
The number of volunteers for the period of six months was 111,433 peoples in total. As can be seen, many people from outside the prefecture came around the holiday season in May. (Table 1)
The content of the activities, needs and help which volunteers provide have changed with the change of accommodation of evacuees from shelters to emergency temporary housing (incl. rented private housing and public housing). What is required now is not only the continued volunteer activities of people from outside Fukushima who do work that has high priority at the time, but also activities such as lighthearted neighborhood help and support for people who experience inconvenience after moving into unfamiliar communities, and salon activities etc. that provide a place for people to get together, make friends and prevent isolation, as well as support activities among residents themselves. It would be ideal if the number of activities began to grow from doing little things close at hand.