Gardens seen as vital to full recovery in temporary housing community
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) is donating US$73,000 to help fund a garden project that is part of ongoing post-disaster relief efforts in Japan's northern provinces.
The grant, awarded to AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization, will benefit residents in a temporary housing community in the Tohoku region, where the 2011 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami killed at least 15,870 people and did an estimated $310 billion of damage. AmeriCares has identified health care, aid to people with disabilities, mental health and psycho-social support, and maintenance of emergency support services as some of the remaining critical issues for communities to reach a full recovery.
"Research has shown that support for relief efforts unfortunately subsides quickly in the wake of a disaster," says Linda Pascotto, TPRF president. "This initiative can be a source of healing, restored dignity, and the courage to go forward on the road to long-term recovery."
The towns dotting the Tohoku coastline were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, says Ramona Bajema, who oversees AmeriCares relief efforts in Japan. In Rikuzentakata City alone "nearly 3,500 homes were destroyed and 2,000 people were killed," she says. "Mobiria, a former campsite overlooking the bay, is now the site of the town's largest temporary housing community."
The elderly residents left behind have little to do but remember what they have lost.
"This project aims to bring vulnerable elderly survivors outside to meet new friends, enjoy nature, and move their bodies under the watchful eyes of trained counselors," Bajema says.
The garden project is expected to decrease feelings of isolation and help maintain and promote the health of Mobiria residents by providing group activities. In addition, those in need of counseling services and health care will be referred to local professionals.
The garden project is sustainable as support staff depart over the next few years. "A neighborhood council," Bajema says, "will continue to maintain the gardens and safeguard the equipment after residents are gone."
About The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF)
Founded in 2001, The Prem Rawat Foundation strives to address the fundamental human needs of food, water and peace so that people can live with dignity, peace and prosperity. For more information, visit: www.tprf.org.
AmeriCares is a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to 164 countries. For more information, visit www.americares.org.
SOURCE The Prem Rawat Foundation