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SOS Japan ready to care for unaccompanied children

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

The SOS Children’s Village in Fukuoka has agreed to take in as many unaccompanied children as it can following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

In the aftermath of the series of disasters that have hit the north-eastern shores of Japan, the SOS Children’s Village in Fukuoka has agreed to take in as many unaccompanied children as it can. If necessary, the SOS Children’s Village will care for the children until either their families or a better solution have been found.

The SOS Children's Village in Fukuoka which is situated1,100 km south-west of Tokyo, suffered no damage following the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami. The Children’s Village was approached by the Japanese Child Guidance Centres, a state body that ensures that children who have lost parental care receive the best alternative care solution available. Although there is currently no way of establishing how many children have lost their families to the disaster, experts fear that the number may be very high due to the fact that most children were in school or nursery at the time of the disaster.

Our SOS Children’s Villages in China, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are also able to accommodate some 100 families from Japan for a short period of time if needed.

The most urgently needed supplies for those affected are water, blankets, food and medical care. As the CEO of Children’s Village Fukuoka Junko Otani points out, however, one of the most pressing needs is to ensure that children who have been severely traumatised and distressed receive professional psychological care.

Emergency relief efforts and assessments of the extent of damages have been extremely difficult due to the sheer size of the affected areas. First estimates put the number of people who have lost their homes at over half a million; 100,000 of them are children.

It’s too early, of course, to know whether we’ll need to open more Children’s Villages in Japan as a result of children losing their parents. And, although SOS teams are currently on standby to go to Japan to help with emergency relief if needed, we have the funds to pay for them, thanks to previous generous support. If, however, you do wish to contribute to our projects further at this time, we still need emergency support in less-resourced Haiti, where – just over one year on from the earthquake – we are still working to provide frontline services to people who remain homeless. The first SOS Children's Village was opened in the historic city of Fukuoka in late April 2010. You can read about the opening of the Village.