Building on its extensive experience in providing international emergency relief, the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) has continued its relief activities to support the survivors in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In cooperation with the government and disabled people’s organizations, AAR has utilized its refined mobility as an NGO to continue its relief efforts to those in areas that are difficult to reach. Together with expressing our heart-felt gratitude to the individuals, corporations and organisations that have supported AAR Japan, this report entails our endeavours over the last two years.
Immediately after the earthquake, our relief team made initial assessments and distributed relief supplies around the disaster stricken areas.
To 180,000 individuals in 1,606 locations
Drawing from our experience in overseas disaster relief that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly are prone to be overlooked during a disaster, AAR Japan implemented its activities focusing on these two population groups. Adult diapers and retort food were well received at social welfare facilities.
c. Soup Kitchens
25,000 meals in 73 locations
Soup kitchens were organized in our wish to cheer up the disaster survivors with hot meals. Menus were well planned-out so that they were rich in variety and had a fresh taste of the changing seasons.
Recipients of medical check-ups: 817 individuals
Recipients of home-care nurse visit: 387 individuals
AAR Japan organized mobile clinics with a medical team led by Dr. Toshiaki YASUDA, a local medical practitioner, and implemented health-related services including check-ups for chronic illnesses, prevention of infectious diseases, and provision of psychological support through counseling.
In addition to medical check-ups, AAR Japan staff members lent their ears to survivors who carry concerns like their daily worries toward their future and desperate need for supplies. One beneficiary commented, “I was so happy to have people come to my house on multiple occasions and be so concerned about my health condition. Having people recognize my existence gave me strength.”
To 22,599 families
Daily essentials including kitchenware and basic furniture were distributed to all households in temporary and subsidized housing complexes across 13 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.
AAR Japan conducted reconstruction of facilities for PWDs and senior care centers, and provision of necessary equipment in cooperation with local contractors. This helped the PWDs in disaster areas reunite with their fellow colleagues and resume their former activities and job.
AAR Japan assisted construction of a new bread factory at ‘Hakku no Ie’, a workshop for PWDs in Tanohata Village, Iwate Prefecture. The factory has a dine-in space that serves fresh baked goods and is popular among the local community.
Assistive and standard vehicles were provided to facilities and local municipal offices throughout the Tohoku region to be used for pick-up and drop-off services for facility users and as a means of transportation for those partaking in recovery efforts.
57 containers provided
AAR Japan provided prefabricated container houses which can be used as both residence and shops.
Many facilities for PWDs were damaged by the earthquake. These facilities offered vocational training and employment to those who have difficulty working in private companies; however, as a result of the earthquake disaster, these facilities were lost. By conducting activities such as repairing these facilities for PWDs or supplying the necessary equipment for work, AAR Japan assists PWDs in reclaiming their workplace.
Number of fairs organized: 27
Many workshops have come to restart production of sweets and crafts, however, the sales have decreased at many facilities since existing customers themselves are affected by the disaster. In order to help these facilities explore new sales channels, AAR Japan organizes sales fairs at companies in Tokyo and encourages these facilities to participate in joint fairs held at shopping centers in Morioka and Sendai. We also support the development of new products.
Rehabilitation and active listening: 132 times
Community interaction events: 129 events
In order to help the affected people maintain both their physical and mental health, AAR Japan has organized various events under the title ‘Building Healthy Communities Project’. Events combining programs such as rehabilitation, concerts and active listening are held regularly at temporary housing complexes. We also facilitate farming activities at small-scale gardens in order to promote neighborhood interaction through gardening.
Installment and Provision of Playground Equipment: in 45 locations
Delivery of Bottled Water to Nurseries and Kindergartens: 9 locations/11,440 liters
AAR Japan has assisted in creating play areas where children can relieve their stress and solve the problem of lack of exercise that are developed from living in cramped temporary housing complexes. This includes setting up large-scale playground equipment within the premises of the temporary housing complexes and supplying indoor play toys to places such as assembly halls and day care facilities. Furthermore, in response to the concerns of mothers who are worried about radiation in drinking water, bottles of mineral water are also being provided to preschools in Fukushima Prefecture.
Staff members of AAR Japan’s Soma office continues to visit every residence in temporary housing complexes to carefully listen to the concerns of each resident.
Ekuko Yokoyama, a staff member of Soma office makes rounds every day to talk to those who have confronted loss of family members and face uncertainty about the future.
11 devices delivered
To measure the contamination level of outdoor-grown harvests and food items that they consume daily, radiation dosimeters were installed at support centers of temporary housing complexes and public halls in Soma City.
Hand-made tote bags delivered 10,543 bags
Chocolate 4,843 boxes
Flower seedlings 1,603 pots
In response to suggestions made by the disaster survivors that a tote bag would be useful when going to school or to organize relief supplies that were provided, a large number of handmade bags with messages attached were donated after a nation-wide call out for their creation. (Bags collected in April 2011, October 2011 and September 2012).
Several people also contributed to the “Heart-Warming Chocolate Delivery Campaign” where messages of support from the public were attached to boxes of AAR Japan’s charity chocolate (with cooperation from the Rokkatei Confectionary Co., Ltd.) and delivered to the disaster areas. There were those who shed tears when they received the message, “We have not forgotten about you”. (Messages collected: Winter 2011-2012 and Winter 2012-2013).
In the spring of 2012, AAR Japan commenced the “Delivering Flowers and Magokoro (literally translated as sincerity) Campaign” that aimed to send flowers to brighten up the disaster-stricken areas. Purchasing potted plants from florists and facilities for PWDs in the disaster areas, they were then individually delivered to places such as temporary housing complexes, each with a message attached.
In cooperation with the Morioka City’s municipal office and Morioka Municipal Hospital, AAR Japan implements activities to promote the health of people living in the coastal areas of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. People living in cramped temporary housing are prone to suffer from lack of exercise that could lead to economy syndrome and disuse syndrome. A medical team makes visits to temporary housing complexes to conduct prevention screening and workshop for exercise to counter these diseases.
5 staff members dispatched for 51 cumulative months
In cooperation with the local government and other organizations, AAR Japan addresses issues surrounding the welfare system for PWDs in the disaster areas. In Iwate Prefecture, 4 staff members were temporarily dispatched to the regional centers of the “Iwate Disability and Welfare Recovery and Relief Center”. Creating manuals for emergency evacuations and gaining a deeper understanding of the actual conditions of the disaster survivors with disabilities are examples of the work that is being conducted. In Miyagi Prefecture, AAR Japan has dispatched one staff member to the “Miyagi Prefecture Ikuseikai”. Focusing on Minami-Sanriku Town, this project has continued with repairs of areas in which children with disabilities can play after school and during the summer holidays.
Help Survivors to Make a New Start
There is still a lot of work to do in the disaster-hit areas of Japan! If you would like to help us provide long-term assistance to the earthquake and tsunami survivors, please consider making a monthly donation to one of the above projects. Every donation (be it one-time or recurring) is truly appreciated.
Thank you for your support!
Sincerely,Your AAR Japan Project Team
Check our other activities on http://www.aarjapan.gr.jp/english/ !
Condensation Becomes a Crucial ProblemIn Kesennuma, Miyagi, where the lowest temperature drops as low as -10 degrees Cesium during the winter, condensation has become a very critical issue in emergency temporary
ousing in the Watado district. Mr. Toshio HATAKEYAMA, President of a Residents’ Association remarked that "some work was done to install double sash and heat insulation materials, but that did not solve the condensation problem. With all the windows open and the exhaust fans in the kitchen and in the bath area turned on, it would be too cold to sleep.” He explained that “with the windows closed, condensation would occur and water droplets start falling on my futon while I’m asleep. The exhaust fan in the attic is too small and useless when it's freezing cold." Water droplets create mold which trigger critical health issues like pneumonia, which can be a life-threatening disease especially to the elderly. The government has provided no further assistance. Mr. HATAKEYAMA sought help from the Volunteer Station in Kesennuma and came up with the idea to take simple measures using do-it-yourself materials that can be purchased at a home improvement center. AAR Japan, who heard about the situation, decided to provide assistance to cover these expenses and help the residents with construction work. All United to Manually Install Heat Insulation
After prolonged freezing weather, the construction began on December 5 with the help of the residents in the temporary houses, staff from the Volunteer Station in Kesennuma, staff from NPO APCAS, and volunteers from Rakuno Gakuen University. Using double-sided scotch tape and sealant, heat insulation materials were installed without any gaps on ceilings and walls of living areas, bedrooms, kitchens, and closets. After measuring the dimensions and checking the positions of light bulbs and fire alarms in each room, the heat insulation materials were cut into appropriate sizes and shapes. If the heat insulation materials fit well in the designated place, they were attached with double-sided tape to form a tight seal. Temporary housing for two occupants is composed of just one or two 4-mat rooms with little to no storage space. In these small rooms with barely enough space for a futon and storage closet, such work can take a considerable amount of time and effort. Some of the work had to be done outside in the chilly weather due to the lack of workspace. All volunteers worked together for an entire week to insulate a total of 10 households and 20 rooms for temporary houses in Watado along with some temporary houses in Goemongahara where the residents had claimed to suffer from the same problem. "We No Longer Have to Worry About Condensation!""The temperature here tends to be 2 to 3 degrees Cesium lower comparing to the adjacent national road and it snows a lot here as well.” Mr. Etsurou FUJIKAWA, a resident of temporary housing in Goemongahara shared his experience. “This year, the weather has been colder than the previous one and it started snowing earlier too. The condensation problem was so severe that the futon bedding in our closets were always wet every morning. During the winter season, I had to wipe the condensation off the wall every morning. But, mold would appear on the ceiling since I can't reach high enough to wipe it. Sometimes, I would stand on the chair and try to wipe it, but it's a hard work considering my age." With an expression of relief on his face he said, "but we no longer have to worry about it. Thank you for your help."
Ms. Nobuko MURAKAMI who resides in the same temporary housing commented "the government offered to add a reheating function to our baths but we declined because the condensation problem was more critical to us. It’s not worth it to spend taxes on what we can get along without. We're doing alright with our baths for now… We appreciate for all the work you've done today. Please help yourselves to some lunch.” She offered some rice with scallops and bamboo shoot she prepared the night before along with some salad, minced soup with saury, and Ganzuki (a well-known snack in Miyagi and Iwate).
Our prayers are with the quake victims who addressed their problems proactively during the toughest of times. We hope that the measures taken against the condensation will help them maintain their health through the winter.
This program is implemented with generous donations received through GlobalGiving and other donors. We appreciate all the support we have received and we will keep continue helping elderly people and persons with disabilities who are still suffering from the aftereffect of March 11th in Tohoku, Japan.
Introduction of Our Achievements
AAR Japan is implementing many projects in the Tohoku region to help evacuees of the disaster, especially persons with disabilities (PWDs) and elderly people.
In this report we would like to introduce some of the achievements we have accomplished recently (April 2012 onward). We used the generous donations received through GlobalGiving for some of these projects.
“Hinatabokko” – Care center for elderly peopleHinatabokko used to organize welfare services such as sending care workers and registered nurses to homes of elderly people to take care of their daily needs. Also Hinatabokko was a place of gathering and comfort for elderly people in Minami-Sanriku Town in Miyagi Prefecture until March 11th 2011, when the tsunami destroyed the building. Many people in the neighborhood lost their homes and families and evacuated out of the Tohoku region, while some, including PWDs and the elderly, stayed in the community. When Hinatabokko was destroyed, Hinatabokko could no longer operate to provide important and sometimes crucial service to their users. We recognized that the social care service was vital in the disaster-affected area. Therefore, supported by several organizations and donors, AAR Japan helped reconstruct the office building of Hinatabokko, which was completed in August 2012.
Now more and more people utilize the Hinatabokko building and the service it offers. More than 100 elderly people use the care service and many of them come to talk and relax at Hinatabokko.
“Senshinkai” – Operator of workshops for PWDsSenshinkai manages various types of workshops to provide hands-on job training and employment for PWDs. One of the workshops is Nozomi Workshop, which receives contract work from local companies for simple labor such as folding envelopes, putting together boxes, and wrapping products. Senshinkai, through its operation, gives valuable work opportunity to PWDs. To rebuild Senshinkai’s main office, AAR Japan, in cooperation with AmeriCares, repaired the building so that Senshinkai staff members can resume their operation to help PWDs in Kesennuma City.
Ogatsu Dental Clinic – Medical Clinic in Ishinomaki CityAs our relief activities progress in the Tohoku region, we have seen a transition of needs of the people in the disaster-affected areas. In Miyagi Prefecture, many people still live in temporary housing complex where access to supermarkets, hospitals, clinics, and schools is hindered. In the Ogatsu district of Ishinomaki City, many buildings including banks, fire stations, kindergartens, and hospitals were destroyed along with 80% of the residences in the district.
With the help of many organizations and individuals, Ogatsu district managed to rebuild one small clinic to provide basic medical service to its residents, but there still was no place to provide dental service. AAR Japan, in cooperation with AmeriCares, established a new dental clinic in June 2012 so that the local people can receive dental treatment, including fitting of dentures for elderly people.
Our ResolutionThese are just a few examples of our activities. These projects were accomplished with help of many organizations and individuals who are dedicated to lending a helping hand. We truly appreciate all the donations we continue to receive via GlobalGiving. We believe that size does not matter; the important thing is the fact that people care about each other and act in whatever way they can. With your donation, we can implement more activities to support those who are in need of help including PWDs and elderly people.
It will be our pleasure to report our future activities and the accomplishments we make with your help. In the Tohoku region, there are still many people who are in need of help and we will do our best to help those people.
We would like to thank everyone who is helping this cause.
You may have noticed that we have recently updated the title and description of the project you have been supporting. As you can imagine, the needs of the disaster survivors keep on changing, and so do our activities. This is why we have decided to do a little overhaul. In the project you are supporting, we are now giving priority to the repair of senior care homes and facilities for persons with disabilities (PWDs), as well as to the re-integration of PWDs who have lost their workplaces due to the disaster.
On the other hand, our support efforts for the tens of thousands of evacuees who now live in temporary housing facilities are ongoing. And we have just started several new programs in Fukushima Prefecture, too.
If you are interested, please have a look at our two other recovery projects for the earthquake and tsunami disaster survivors in Japan.
"Building Healthy Communities for Recovery"http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/building-healthy-communities-1/"Support Evacuees of Fukushima"http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-evacuees-of-fukushima/
In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, AAR JAPAN has been providing equipment and supporting the repair and maintenance of approximately 50 social welfare facilities in the disaster-affected areas. One of the facilities we support is Huck’s House, a vocational center for persons with disabilities in Tanohata Village, Iwate Prefecture.
Before the earthquake, the facility’s users made calamari in a seafood processing plant, bread in a bread factory, and Japanese pickles in an agricultural processing plant, all of which were run by Huck’s House. The seafood processing plant brought in a significant income, but the seaside plant was totally destroyed by the March 11th tsunami. To compensate, the facility decided to expand the bread factory and agricultural processing plant, which fortunately escaped damage from the tsunami. The new buildings of the bread factory and agricultural processing plant were completed at the end of December 2011.
The users of Huck’s House were very happy with the new bread factory. While full production will commence once all of the new equipment is installed in May 2012, partial production has already begun using the existing baking equipment.
On January 31st, 10 elementary and 5 junior high school students from the neighboring special needs school attended baking classes led by the baking supervisors at Huck’s House. This was the students’ first time to bake bread. All of them were excited to put on white caps, aprons and face masks, and they listened carefully to the instructions of Mr. Hideki TAKESHITA, the factory manager. “Bread dough breathes,” he told them—and for a moment everyone was afraid to touch the dough with their hands. When facility manager Atsuko TAKESHITA told them that they could make their favorite shapes with the dough, the students smiled and quickly started to make their own original designs.
When the students were done, the tray was lined with shapes of bread that were unique in the world. One boy made his bread in the image of his favorite teacher’s face, planning to give it to him when it was done. Another boy made a rainbow of 7 different types of jam along a 30-cm length of bread, hoping to surprise his friends. One girl simply crammed the dough with as much jam as she could.
The 3 bakers at Huck’s House supported the elementary school students. Like dependable elder brothers, they carried heavy trays, spread the students’ requested jams, and helped students who couldn’t close their dough around their jam. The dough was placed in the oven, and the bread was ready a short time later. The students were happy first with the pleasant smells, and then to see their own unique designs.
Mr. Kiichi SOJIGAMI used to work at the seafood processing plant. “I was worried because I didn’t know when we could start working again,” he told us. “And we couldn’t see our colleagues because we needed to stay at home for a while after the earthquake.” Now he has started working at the newly-expanded bread factory. He told us enthusiastically, “I am learning now, but I want to be better. I’ll practice every day.”
Huck’s House has been selected to make bread for school lunch in the village, which is anticipated to offer a stable revenue stream. The neighbors both in the nearby temporary housing complex and in the local community are looking forward to having bread from Huck’s House, and the venue is expected to be a place for interaction in the community.
This project has been made possible thanks to many individual donations and through a grant from Japan Platform.
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