The role of CSOs in reconstruction efforts after the recent earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear crisis

There are several charitable and voluntary organizations acting relief operations in the area stricken by earthquake and tsunami and they sometimes make cross sector coalition to achieve their goals. This is a report how charitable and voluntary organizations are taking a role of relief operation at present.

Japan Civil Network for Disaster Relief in East Japan (or called “JCN” in short) < http://www.jpn-civil.net/ > was established with project managers of 21 leading charitable and voluntary organizations including JACO on March 24th 2011, to assist rescue activities and work with rescue team around the area. This network is expanding up to 560 members of charitable and voluntary organizations as of June 19th 2011 and also maintaining close coordination with members of national parliament and several governmental ministries and agencies.

One of the JCN project managers, Japan National Council of Social Welfare (JNCSW) placed 77 volunteer centers for relief operation, having a role of comprehensive hub center for volunteers, in 6 prefectures as of June 20th. These volunteer centers accepted about 433,800 volunteers in total since their first volunteer center placed on March 15th. JNCSW itself also does relief operation such as providing loan fund with free of interests, dispatching 300 JNCSW office staffs located in other prefectures to disaster sites.

In case of JACO, it has launched the Emergency Relief Fund for the Pacific Coast of Northeast Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 14th to support social welfare organizations, non-profit organizations including Public Interest Corporations, Specified Nonprofit Corporations, etc. that are working in the suffered area to provide immediate disaster relief.

Most of JCN project managers and JCN members conduct relief operations by supporting each other.

Local organizations also had own local network for disaster relief in the disaster struck area of 3 prefectures. The Miyagi Recovery Assistance Center (MRAC) is a regional relief network for voluntary organizations, local government and local communities in Miyagi prefecture. MRAC was established right after the earthquake to support transportation of aid materials, interpreter call center for foreigners and distribution of aid and donation to voluntary organizations working for relief activities.

At the local level, several networks for disaster relief exist and most of them are making coalitions with JCN to operate relief activities in national wide smoothly. The impact of relief operations by CSOs is quite large and their cooperation is essentially vital for relief operation.