Singapore Red Cross Delivers Final Rebuilding Project Of Japan’s 2011 Tsunami

Single largest reconstruction project by the Singapore Red Cross in response to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

S$11.1m Multi-Purpose Community Hall in Rikuzentakata to serve 20,000 people

Rikuzentakata, Iwate, 16 March 2015 – The Singapore Red Cross (SRC), together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local Rikuzentakata City officials today formally opened the Multi-Purpose Community Hall in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. The ceremony was officiated by Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, and Mayor of Rikuzentakata, Mr Futoshi Toba. Also present at the ceremony was HE Chin Siat Yoon, Singapore’s Ambassador to Japan, and Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General & CEO of the SRC.

The community hall is one of the four major rebuilding projects undertaken with donations from the people of Singapore following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It is also the final rebuilding project SRC has delivered to the community, four years after the Tsunami struck Japan.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam said in his speech at the opening ceremony, “Our sympathy and unity with Japan led to a tremendous outpouring of support and contribution to help the victims of the disaster. The donation drive supported by the government and launched by SRC raised over S$35 million. This is either the largest or second largest amount ever contributed by Singaporeans for a disaster in a foreign city. We decided that our contribution should be channeled to projects that would benefit the local community.”

The Rikuzentakata Multi-Purpose Community Hall, which is built on elevated grounds, houses a community hall, meeting rooms and exhibition spaces, amongst others. At S$11.1 million, the 2,000 square-metre multi-purpose community hall in Rikuzentakata City is the single largest reconstruction projects of the SRC in Japan, and will serve more than 20,000 residents of the city.

“I still recall with a certain pride the overwhelming response from the people of Singapore when Singapore Red Cross launched the appeal. It was this show of solidarity and enduring friendship by the people of Singapore towards the affected communities, that made the reconstruction and other relief efforts possible. Three of the other rebuilding projects have been completed and have been serving the community for some time now.  It is always heartening to receive messages of appreciations from the people and the communities which these facilities are serving.  Even though this is the final major project to be handed over,  SRC continues to work with our local partners in japan to see how we can enhance some of the completed projects, as well as, embark on additional projects to serve the affected community. These completed and on-going projects reflect the good people-to-people relations between Japan and Singapore and help to further enhance these ties,” said Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General of SRC.

The community hall is also designed with the aim of enhancing Rikuzentakata City’s disaster preparedness by integrating with the city’s fire and police departments, and serving as a Disaster Relief Centre.

“The aid we received from people throughout the Japan and around the world truly sustained us after the disaster. We lived in a city where we did not even have one piece of bread to hand out to our citizens. Our city has recovered and will continue to do so because of the aid we received, and for that I am truly grateful. To have this friendship with the people of Singapore, to have received this aid from your country is a sign of the best humankind has to offer and for that as well I extend my thanks,” said Mayor Toba.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, SRC launched an appeal to assist the victims of the disaster. A total of S$35.7 million was received from the Singapore public – individuals, companies and organisations. This sum included the S$500,000 seed money contributed by the Singapore Government (a full account of the allocation of the donations to the various recovery and reconstruction projects is in Annex A).

SRC has funded the construction of other facilities in the affected Tohoku region. These include the Taro Support Centre in Miyako City that was completed in November 2011 and serves 1,700 residents monthly, the 90-student Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School that was officially opened in May 2013, as well as the Isobe Community Centre, that was up and running in July 2013 (see Annex B for more details).

About Singapore Red Cross

Singapore Red Cross is a homegrown humanitarian organisation, dedicated to relieving human suffering, protecting lives and dignity and responding to emergencies since 1949. We serve the vulnerable through our blood donor recruitment programme, home and day activity centre for the disabled, transport aid, food aid, and community first aid. We build capacity and resilience through our training academy, and volunteer and youth development. Beyond our shores, we mobilise and translate contributions from the donor community to relief and recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, with the aim of helping communities affected by disasters. For more information, please see

Annex A Overview of Singapore Red Cross contributions to support Japan

Overall Relief and Rebuilding Efforts Specific Prefecture / Locations Assisted Amount
(S$ million)
Total Amount Raised for Japan Disaster Fund   35.7
Amount Committed    
Immediate Response Phase   1.5
1. For Emergency Relief by the Japanese Red Cross Society   1.25
2. For Immediate Relief Supplies (e.g. bottled water, blankets, mattresses) Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture 0.25
Recovery Phase   11.3
Facilitated by Japanese Red Cross Society    
1. Construction / Rehabilitation of a night-time temporary medical centre; refurbishment of a temporary nursing school and other construction projects Across affected prefectures 4
2. Purchase and distribution of 250 medical/nursing beds to the affected municipalities Fukushima Prefecture 1
3. Procurement of 100 vehicles for various social welfare institutions, to facilitate the transport for the elderly and the disabled Across affected prefectures 3
4. Provision of ~S$1million worth of basic necessities to Japanese families placed in temporary housing Across affected prefectures 1
5. Purchase of 10 mini cars to ferry aged patients to medical facilities (In collaboration with Life Community Development) 2 cars respectively for Kamaishi City, Otsuchi Town, Yamada Town, Ofunato City and Tono City in Iwate Prefecture 0.2
For Japanese Red Cross Society’s relief operations in Tohoku region to assist the survivors of the disasters Tohoku Region 2.0
6. Purchase of 2 giant Taiko Drums as a symbol of friendship between two countries (In collaboration with Singapore Rotary Club) Onagawa Shiosai Taiko Gokai & Jusan Hama, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture 0.1
Reconstruction Projects   19.3
1. Taro Support Centre
MOC signed: 22 July 2011
Date of completion: 15 November 2011
Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture 1.1
2. Rikuzentakata Multi-Purpose Hall
MOC signed: 6 September 2011
Date of completion: 16 March 2015
Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture 11.1
(3.9 yet to be disbursed)
3. Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School
MOC signed: 18 March 2012
Date of completion: 2 May 2013
Shichigahama Town, Miyagi Prefecture 5
(0.7 not disbursed)
4. Isobe Community Centre
MOC signed: 5 June 2012
Date of Completion: 13 July 2013
Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture 2.1
(0.4 not disbursed)
Ongoing Community Projector Japanese Red Cross Society   2.0
Community Projects (to build people to people relations with the affected communities), including psychosocial support projects, and other humanitarian projects with communities in the affected region. (Sum set aside)   2.0
Administrative Costs   1.2
Includes travel to oversee projects, account & audit fees, insurance fees, dedicated staff costs, providing accounting to the public, etc. (Sum set aside)   1.2
Total Amount Committed   35.3
Contingency Fund
To meet cost escalations or FOREX differences during the construction period. Any remaining surpluses will be channeled to collaborative projects to benefit the survivors, and/or to equip the above construction projects.



Taro Support Centre in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture

The S$1.1 million Taro Support Centre was the first reconstruction project to be completed. It serves more than 1,000 evacuees who have been living in a temporary housing development since the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The centre is managed by social welfare association Taro Washinkai, which has 10 care workers on duty to provide services to the elderly. The centre also has rehabilitation facilities and equipment for the elderly, who constitute more than 30 percent of the residents.

Toyama Nursery in Shichigahama Town, Miyagi Prefecture

Shichigahama is a small coastal town of 20,000 people, an hour’s drive from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture’s capital city. The earthquake-tsunami displaced 9,000 residents and wrought massive damage to the town. Constructed in 1975, the Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School (STNS) was damaged by the earthquake but fortunately untouched by the tsunami. Given the extent of damage, the town office determined that the school be reconstructed on elevated ground, and for it to serve as an evacuation centre for future emergencies.

With an enrolment of 90 children below 6 years of age, the STNS is one of two public nursery schools run by the town office, serving more than half of the overall capacity.

Construction of the nursery commenced in July 2012. The one-storey building of 1,000 square metres will also serve as an evacuation centre.

Isobe Community Centre cum Shelter in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture

Isobe, located at the eastern part of the Fukushima Prefecture, suffered extensive damage during the disaster. 400 out of 500 houses were washed away, and the Community Centre was not spared. The Centre was a gathering point for the community, thus its reconstruction would go a long way towards bringing the Isobe community together again.

The Community Centre was built in the vicinity of Isobe Junior School. The centre serves as a disaster prevention centre for the 2,000-resident city. It is adjacent to the schoolyard, which can double up as a helipad for evacuation purposes during future emergencies. 

Multi-Purpose Community Hall in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture

At S$11.1 million, the 2,000 square-metre Multi-Purpose Community Hall in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, is the single largest of Singapore Red Cross’ funded reconstruction projects in Japan.

The new Multi-Purpose Hall replaces the community hall that was destroyed by the tsunami. The new building, which was built on elevated ground, houses a community hall, meeting rooms and exhibition spaces, amongst others. The building was also designed with the aim of enhancing Rikuzentakata City’s disaster preparedness. It is integrated with the city’s fire and police departments, and serves as a Disaster Relief Centre.

The city of Rikuzentakata faced the full fury of the tsunami as it sits on a wide bay facing the earthquake’s epicenter 130 kilometers offshore. Most of Rikuzentakata City was obliterated and more than 1,700 people out of a population of 24,000 (as of 2012) were killed. The commencement of the construction of the Multi-Purpose Hall marks a new phase in the redevelopment and rejuvenation of Rikuzentakata City.