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.
Aug 22, 2016

Visit in Fukushima with Grateful Crane Ensemble

  It’s been five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused multi-dimensional human catastrophes in the aftermath of tsunami, meltdown at nuclear power plant, and expansive radioactive contamination. Reconstruction/decontamination efforts have made progress while the majority of affected populations have long been displaced away from their home towns. For some, time has elapsed without any future prospect in sight.

  There still remain more than 150, 000 people in displacement today. The populations are predominantly elderly who were particularly vulnerable within the context of disaster recovery. Through the past half a decade, many have moved out of disaster relief temporary housings. A part of undeniable consequences of this was the fragmentation of families and communities that once held solid ties. Prior to the disaster, one family from grandparents to their grandchildren lived together under the same roof. Their communities were also close-knit that acted as a support system for everyone. Today, forced displacement that seemed indefinite has made many young families move away from their hometowns to seek a safer environment to raise their children. On the other hand, many grandparents decided to stay in hopes of going back home once the evacuation order is lifted. Nonetheless, many communities in the affected areas are on the verge of falling apart. It is evident in that less than a half of the original populations would make a decision to go back to their hometowns after the government announces the end of evacuation.

  Against this backdrop, AAR Japan is committed to keeping the communities together and attending to every person’s need in the final phase of disaster recovery. In cooperation with entertainers from home and abroad, we organize recreational events through which they often feel a strong connection to their homeland and culture.

  This past month, AAR Japan coordinated a self-funded Goodwill tour of the Grateful Crane Ensemble which is a non-profit theatrical company of Japanese Americans based in Los Angeles, the United States. In the spirit of reaffirming support and love for people in Tohoku in the midst of prolonged recovery from the disaster, we toured around four temporary housing facilities in Fukushima city, Soma city, Kawamata town and Nihonmatsu city through June 18 to 20. The group performed a repertoire of old Japanese pop songs, which symbolize for both performers and audiences pride and appreciation for the ancestral linage rooted in Japan such as “Like the Flow of the River”(),”Ringo Oiwake”(), “Kitaguni no Haru” (), “Sukiyaki song” (),”Furusato” () and so many more.Their singing inspired nostalgia and love for their homeland, and hope for the future. Many residents among the audiences had not had a chance to take part in live performances, let alone recreational activities. Many broke into tears. Many smiled. Many laughed. Many sang along. A small makeshift assembly room that stands in the middle of temporary housing facilities that are now half empty was filled with so much warmth and love. The audience in Kawamata town in particular was exceptionally ecstatic. They requested an encore after the performance was done.

   “I am very thankful for these people who came all the way from the United States just for us. I did not know the Japanese singer Misora Hibari was famous in the States,” said the woman in Soma city. A male participant in Kawamata town also said “we can’t communicate our thoughts to each other but our hearts became connected. I feel very close to them. I feel happy and supported. It’s a strange feeling but in a positive sense.” One of the members of the Grateful Crane Ensemble expressed to us that “I was thrown into shock at the sight of so many elderly residents who are still living in temporary living facilities. I was welling up while singing because I was able to feel and understand what they were going through. I cried because they cried. I was happy because they were happy. I want to continue to support these people even after I go back to Los Angeles.”

  AAR Japan places an important value on sending out message from Tohoku to let people in other countries know that the struggle still continues for those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. We will not let these people be left behind. We will continue to stand by them.   

Jun 3, 2016

Kumamoto Earthquakes Response Report

Since April 15, the day after the earthquakes rocked Kumamoto prefecture, AAR Japan’s emergency response team collaborated with The Peace Project (an NPO represented by AAR Japan’s board member Ben Kato) to operate soup kitchens. As of May 8, the organizations conducted 34 soup kitchens and distributed 17,730 meals with plenty of vegetables such as pot-au-feu and tonjiru (pork and vegetable soup) for a healthy dietary life of survivors.

A 30’s-year-old lady at evacuation center of Ino primary school told that “I feel happy by eating warm meals even though my house is in terrible situation after the earthquake.

On April 27, the team delivered futons to Ayumi which is a support center for elderly people. After the quakes, Ayumi was overflown with the elderly users were forced to sleep on the floor. Out of fear for unpredictable aftershocks, they took shelter at the center.   

By May 8, AAR Japan delivered aid to five evacuation centers in Kumamoto-city, Aso-city, Mashiki-town and Nishihara village and to eleven facilities for people with disabilities or for elderly people.

As needs change over time, AAR will continue to deliver timely and appropriate aid to affected areas. AAR will also continue to assess ways to deliver aid to persons that are least likely to receive aid, such as the elderly and PWDs.

May 19, 2016

Thank you for your support

"Spring" - temporary housing unit in Miharu Town
"Spring" - temporary housing unit in Miharu Town

More than five years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake that decimated the Tohoku region on the unprecedented scale. After five years of operation through “Support Evacuees of Fukushima,” AAR Japan decided to deactivate the project in acknowledgement of significant decrease in the number of residents in temporary housing complexes in Fukushima. Moving forward, we would like to focus on “Building Healthy Communities for Recovery,” an ongoing project through GlobalGiving, to respond to the needs of more than 12,000 displaced populations who are still living in temporary housing units or small subsidized apartments across Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures..

We have continued our consistent assistance in Fukushima since the initial entry into the affected areas immediately after the disaster, distributing relief supplies, food, or daily necessities. AAR has also supported displaced populations in temporary housing units by providing psychological care, physical care and social care. We organized community events, concerts, cooking schools and traditional festivals to motivate people to get out of their rooms. By participating in these activities, people were able to gradually feel a sense of normalcy under the given circumstance of displacement. For children, we installed play equipment in the housing complexes and provided mineral water supplies to nursery schools. We also distributed radiation dosimeters.

This was all made possible by your generous donations through GlobalGiving. We would like to express our most sincere and deepest appreciation for your support. We will continue carrying out the other project, “Building Healthy Communities for Recovery”, that focuses on promoting the mental and physical health of evacuees, predominantly elderly residents and PWDs, who have been living in temporary housing complexes.

For more details, please click the link below. We truly appreciate if you consider directing your support to the project.

‘Building Healthy Communities for Recovery’

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/building-healthy-communities-1/

Again we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your warm and hearty support. The recovery of disaster stricken area will take further effort and time and we are determined to continue our assistance which most suits the need of those who have been affected.

 
   

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