Japan Scouts receive message of solidarity after disaster
A message of support has been sent to the International Commissioner of the Scout Association of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami which devastated the country.
In a personal letter which echoed the thoughts of scouts worldwide, Luc Panissod, Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, offered condolences for those who lost friends and relatives in the tragedy.
Here is an extract of the response from Kunisada Kume, the International Commissioner SAJ:
‘We are grateful to you for your letter expressing concern and sympathy regarding the natural disaster that struck Japan on March 11.
'The extremely powerful earthquake whose epicentre was beneath the Pacific off the coast of northeast Honshu and the subsequent tsunami caused immense damage and great loss of life.
'Inspired by our desire to see normal life restored as soon as possible, we are determined to do our best in these difficult circumstances.’
Read more of this reply on the WOSM website.
The Scout Association is working in partnership with international disaster relief charity ShelterBox, who have already sent a team to the north east of the country. ShelterBox Response Team member Mark Pearson said,
‘We’re facing a unique set of circumstances dealing with the effects of an earthquake, a tsunami and now a potential nuclear incident. Our efforts will initially be focused on Japan’s north where the worst affected areas are. We have aid ready to move as soon as we establish where the greatest need is.’
The first consignment of ShelterBoxes have already arrived in the worst hit areas, and more are scheduled to be sent. Scout Groups wishing to help can make donations to ShelterBox through their website.
Save the Children has set up an operations base in Sendai and is concerned that some of the children affected by the disaster may have been separated from their families.
Stephen McDonald, who is leading the team in Japan, said the most pressing worries were lack of water and psychological problems associated with trauma and stress. 'Children we talk to say that whenever there's a tremor they are scared that something is going to happen.'
The organisation - an official partner of Scouting - has 45 people on the ground in the disaster zone, including 40 Japanese.