Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan)

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan(AAR Japan) is a Non-Governmental Organization ( NGO ) aiming to provide emergency assistance, assistance to people with disabilities, and mine action, among other operations. It was established in 1979 as an organization with no political, ideological, or religious affiliation. AAR currently has offices in 10 countries.
Apr 26, 2011

Activity Report (March, 29th 2011)

Land liquefaction left puddles around the building
Land liquefaction left puddles around the building

Fluid Soil Poses Threat to Welfare Facilities

On March 28, AAR JAPAN’s Emergency Relief Teams logged 7 locations on their delivery record, visiting 4 places in Tome City, 2 in Kurihara City and 1 more in Yamamoto Town, all in Miyagi Prefecture.

Disappeared Welfare Facility Revisited
Sasae-ai (Supporting Each Other)” is a welfare facility for the aged in Yamamoto Town.  Its building had been rendered into a pile of planks and scrap metals by the massive Tsunami, and a single signboard was all that was left in its location when the AAR JAPAN’s Relief Team managed to get there on March 26.  The Team was later able to talk to the director of the facility, but at that time he had not grasped enough information as to what had happened to the elderly who had been in the building at the time of the Quake.  The leader got in touch with the Team again after two days, saying whereabouts of the aged clients had been confirmed and that he had secured a storage for relief items.  The elderly of the facility are scattered in several locations, some at refuge centers, some others staying with their relatives.  The team met director on March 28, and handed out food and diapers for adults, both desperately needed by the dispersed elderly.

Welfare Facility Ponders Relocation
Sakuranbo Kurabu (Cherry Club)” is a welfare facility for the aged in a city of Tome in Northern Miyagi.  Situated inland, Tome was out of reach of the Tsunami.  Many parts of the town, former marshland, suffered serious damages nonetheless due to its relatively loose soil.
Half of the building of “Sakuranbo Kurabu” is not usable because of possible liquefaction caused by the Quake.  The phenomenon has created a number of puddles in the facility’s premise.  A staff member of the facility told the Team that the facility might have to move to somewhere else in near future, because the current building is too dangerous for normal use.
 

Land liquefaction left puddles around the building of "Sakuranbo Kurabu" (Go IGARASHI of AAR JAPAN, right, hands out a box of relief items)


List of Destinations on March 28
Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture:
-Bakery “Isoppu (Aesop)” (Welfare facility for people with disabilities)
-“Mariya no Ie (House of Mary)” (Welfare facility for people with disabilities)

Septic tanks at "Minna no Ie" were all damaged.
 
Yamamoto Town, Miyagi Prefecture:
-“Sasae-ai” (Welfare facility for the aged)

Tome City, Miyagi Prefecture:
-Wako-en (Welfare facility for people with disabilities)
-“Sakuranbo Kurabu” (Welfare facility for the aged)
-“Minna no Ie (House for Everybody)” (Welfare facility for the aged)
-Hantoku-en (Welfare facility for people with disabilities)
Septic tanks at "Minna no Ie" were all damaged.
Septic tanks at "Minna no Ie" were all damaged.

Links:

Apr 20, 2011

Activity Report (March 27th, 2011 - 2)

Rikuzen-Takata City after the tsunami
Rikuzen-Takata City after the tsunami


AAR JAPAN Enters the Demolished City

On Sunday, March 27, AAR JAPAN’s Emergency Relief Team made an expedition to the city of Rikuzen-Takata, one of the most heavily damaged towns along the Pacific coast, visiting two welfare facilities for people with disabilities for delivery of relief items.
Most part of Rikuzen-Takata city lies in a state of obliteration.  Few buildings except those in the heights survived.

People with Disabilities Stay Together
Out of 4 welfare facilities in Rikuzen-Takata, only two survived the catastrophe; the other two were swallowed by the Tsunami.  “Hikami-no-Sono” and “Asunaro Home”, two remaining facilities now serve as refuge centers.
At “Hikami-no-Sono”, a total of 50 people with disabilities and staff members are taking shelter.  The small building, located in the heights, evaded the devastating Tsunami.  In contrast to relatively bigger refuge centers nearby where consistent provisions of relief items have recently started to arrive, small places like “Hikami-no-Sono” are still experiencing severe lack of material support.  Despite the suffocating inconvenience, many of people with disabilities have no other option but staying in the familiar facility.  For them, sharing time and space with many others at bigger refuge centers is simply unrealistic.

Yoshiteru HORIE (left), Secretary General of AAR JAPAN presents a box of bananas to the director of "Hikami-no-Sono".  He was very happy, saying the fruit was easy to eat and nutritious.
AAR JAPAN’s Relief Team handed out bananas, grapefruits, futon mattress, toilet paper rolls and 20 liters of gasoline.  Vehicles at “Hikami-no-Sono” were completely out of gas when the Team arrived, hindering them from going out to procure necessary items.  “Now we can go to shops far away from here and buy things”, said the worker at the facility.
List of Destinations on March 27
Rikuzen-Takata City, Miyagi Prefecture
-Hikami-no-Sono (Welfare facility for people with disabilities, 50 survivors)
-Asunaro Home (Welfare facility for people with disabilities, 15 survivors)
AAR JAPAN Secretary-General to deliver donations
AAR JAPAN Secretary-General to deliver donations

Links:

Apr 20, 2011

Activity Report (March 27th, 2011)

AAR JAPAN staff search for a welfare facility
AAR JAPAN staff search for a welfare facility


No Shortcut to Finding Those Who Need Help

On Saturday, March 26, AAR JAPAN’s Emergency Relief Team visited three locations in Miyagi prefecture for delivery of food and fuel.  This day the Team surveyed 12 additional welfare facilities for the aged and people with disabilities.
 
Relief Team Faces Tough Realities
The elderly and people with disabilities, around whom AAR JAPAN’s relief operations are conducted, are often considered the most vulnerable to natural disasters, and are often the last ones to receive assistance.  The Team literally calls up each welfare facility in the affected area one by one to assess the level of damage and to grasp the immediate needs before setting out to actual delivery.  Sometimes the AAR staff have to directly visit those facilities where no one is answering the phone or no e-mail response is coming from.
On March 26, the Team headed to one of such welfare facilities for the aged, Sasae-Ai (“Supporting Each Other”) Day-Care Center in a town of Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture.
Roads in the vicinity of Sasae-Ai were closed off to regular vehicles because of heavy traffic of big construction equipments mobilized to remove piling debris.  The Team had to consult a road map to find a detour, only to find a signboard left at the facility’s address.  Patrolling policemen had no clue about what happened to Sasae-Ai.


Go IGARASHI and Toshiyuki KOGA of AAR JAPAN searches for a welfare facility. No trace of building was found.

The Team was later able to talk to the director of the facility, who told that his house was lost in the Tsunami, and three out of 23 employees were found dead.  Even he did not know whereabouts of the elderly who had been in the building at the outbreak of the Quake.
The Team’s path gets often blocked by cruel realities like this, but the entire staff are determined to continue searching for people who are still waiting for the arrival of helping hands.

List of Destinations on March 26
Yamamoto Town, Miyagi Prefecture
-Sakamoto Junior High School (Refuge center, food & water delivered)
-Seiwa-en (Welfare facility for people with disabilities, gasoline/kerosene/diesel fuel delivered)
Higashi-Matsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture
-No.2 Kyosei-en (Welfare facility for people with disabilities, gasoline/kerosene/diesel fuel delivered) 


AAR JAPAN staff unload relief items from Tokyo
AAR JAPAN staff unloads relief items from Tokyo
AAR JAPAN staff unloads relief items from Tokyo

Links:

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