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.
Mar 16, 2017

Thank you very much for your continuous support

Kozuchi Eco House February 12, 2017
Kozuchi Eco House February 12, 2017

   March 11, 2017 marked the 6th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. About 2,500 individuals are still missing and 126,900 people are displaced, some out of which live in temporary housings across Japan to this day.

   This past February, AAR Japan visited temporary housings and other displacement points in Iwate prefecture with physiotherapists and counselors. It is important that we create such opportunities for them to let out anxieties, frustrations, or worries and relax their bodies. In the midst of collective yet tacit realization that Tohoku would mark the 6th anniversary in March, there seemed to be clouds over people’s heads who came to receive massage therapies and counseling.  A women in her 70’s said “A lot of people are moving out and I don’t understand why I am left alone on my own. I’ve lived here for 6 years. My area was affected by the tsunami but my town itself was inland and so the government wouldn’t give financial help to rebuild houses that were destroyed or damaged. I had to either borrow money to rebuild my house or apply for a room at the subsidized public housings. I can’t make up my mind just yet.” Another woman in her 80’s longs to see her son who will never return. She said “My son was a tuna fisher. That day, he managed to come back to the port on his boat. But as he tried to turn his key on in a car he was hit and killed by tsunami. His body was later found just like that - with a key in his hand in a car. I dream of him every night when I go to bed.”

   Despite the significant delay on the initial construction plans, rapid resettlement of the displaced populations from temporary make-shift housings to government-subsidized recovery housings is steadily taking place. In Fukushima prefecture, repatriation of affected populations will commence as the government prepares to lift evacuation orders this year.

   Against this backdrop, we will continue to provide physiotherapy and psychosocial counseling at each temporary housing on a regular basis as we have always done. Meanwhile, AAR Japan will deactivate “Building Healthy Community for Recovery” on GlobalGiving to shift our project focus in acknowledgement of significant decrease in the number of residents in temporary housings in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. Moving forward, we will focus on assessing the needs of a handful of individuals who are still living in temporary housings as well as government subsidized recovery housings. Most of them face complexities in different forms which prevent them from moving out and resettle elsewhere, ranging from physical/mental disabilities, financial problems, absence of relatives and so on. AAR Japan will continue to support these people who remain affected by the disaster. 

   Through your generous donations over the past 6 years, we have helped support people in Tohoku by organizing message therapy sessions, health check-ups, psychosocial counseling and community events. This was all made possible by your continuous donations through GlobalGiving. We would like to express our most sincere and deepest appreciation for your support. 

Otstushi Temporary Complex 3 February 18, 2017
Otstushi Temporary Complex 3 February 18, 2017
Dec 5, 2016

Continuing Assistance in Iwaki City

On 19th November, AAR Japan visited Iwaki City located in the southeastern part of Fukushima prefecture on the Pacific Ocean coastline.

The Great East Japan Earthquake on 11th March, 2011 caused this city several cracks in the ground and violent mudslides among other disasters, completely or partially destroying almost 40,000 houses, the second-worst in all disaster-affected areas only after the massive scale of destruction seen in Sendai city in Miyagi Prefecture. The tsunami and mudslides caused by the earthquake led to the deaths of more than 400 people.

In addition to the direct impact of the earthquake, Iwaki city was heavily affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Soon after the nuclear meltdown, the northern part of Iwaki city was designated as indoor evacuation zone, driving almost 7,000 citizens out of the city.

The temporary housing complex we visited on 19th November, initially sheltered 72 households who evacuated from their houses in the disaster. Some of them managed to relocate to more permanent housing with or without government support. However, 64 households continue to live in the temporary housing complex today, most of whom are elderly over 65 years old.

To maintain physical and mental health of these disaster survivors who still remain displaced, AAR Japan is providing massages, calisthenics exercises, and health check-ups alongside active listening (counseling) sessions and other community events. Active listening sessions provide the participants with opportunities to interact with one another besides allowing them to pour their hearts out to counselors about the troubles and concerns that they usually keep to themselves. Massage sessions help the participants relax and promote conversations.

One of the participants (60s, woman), who evacuated from Namie-town, came with cold compress on the shoulder crying over its pain. After a massage session, she began to talk about her situation. She said she wanted to repair her house, but instead she and her husband would have to move to public housing in Nihonmatsu so that they can continue to take their grandchild to and from the same school. They look after their grandchild while the child’s parents live in Minamisoma-city, 90 km away from the school, for work. Although the parents wanted to relocate their child to live with them, they worry that the child became too shy after transferring schools several times.

Today, 12 people came to receive massages, and 13 came for counseling sessions, among whom some will remain in the temporary housing, some may relocate to new apartments built for disaster survivors, and others will return to their hometown after the evacuation order is lifted. For over five years since the 3.11 disaster, AAR Japan has continuously supported those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake by adjusting its aid to serve the changing needs of each survivor.

Sep 7, 2016

Thank you for your support

Almost three months have passed since a strong earthquake shook Kumamoto prefecture. The quake has a recorded magnitude 7.0 on 14th April and another one which is almost the same level occurred two days later. At least 75 people were killed and 3,000 others were injured. There were more than 180,000 evacuees at the peak and 155,066 buildings and houses were destroyed (10th July, 2016).

In response, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) dispatched an emergency response team consisting of four staff members. They started serving meals at a makeshift soup kitchen on 15th April at Iino primary school in Mashiki town in collaboration with the Peace Project, a Japanese NPO.

With the help of local authorities, the AAR Japan team carefully selected the soup kitchen venues that were closest to the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and persons with disabilities, among the survivors.

Throughout the duration of the project, the Team conducted a total of 44 soup kitchens and distributed 18,710 hot meals. The Team provided a variety of meals such as curry, Yakisoba (fried noodles) and so on. The meals were distributed not only to evacuees at the evacuation center but also to people who live near the center. This is because it took for long time to recover gas and water. Some people formed line with pots to bring meals to their family members.

The meals were also delivered to welfare facilities where many were evacuated. Almost nobody could prepare enough food for everyone as these facilities were not designed to be temporary evacuation centers and their capabilities to accommodate the earthquake survivors are limited.

AAR Japan also distributed non-food items, with a focus on helping the elderly and persons with disabilities by providing sanitary items, water and other materials based on individual needs. AAR Japan also provided wheelchairs to one of the facilities for swift transportation of elderly people.

Once facilities for PWDs returned to their daily operation, the concern of the cracked buildings and damaged equipment became a major issue. Facilities in affected area called upon AAR Japan for support because the government subsidies for building repairs was limited. AAR Japan provided machines and equipment for one of the facilities where persons with disabilities make a living by making and selling hand-crafts, bento box and baked goods.

This was made possible by your support through Global Giving. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for your warm support. AAR Japan will continue to support people who began new life in temporally housing units in addition to support to the facilities for people with disabilities.

 
   

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