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 1, 2013

Mine Victim Assistance at Lira Regional Hospital

Rehabilitation available at Lire Regional Hospital
Rehabilitation available at Lire Regional Hospital

People living in Lira, in the northern region of Uganda, have been severely affected by landmines and UXOs which were scattered all over the area throughout the civil war that lasted for the past 20 years. Many people were severely injured, and had to have their legs and/or arms amputated.

As we have reported in the last two reports, AAR Japan, in cooperation with ULSA (Uganda Landmine Survivors
Association), has been supporting 30 victims financially by providing start-up kits for those willing to take up a business on their own. These start-up kits are worth about 500 US dollars each, and include items such as commodities for sale in a retail shop or, solar panels to produce the necessary electricity to run a small-scale self-owned business facility.

AAR Japan has also been providing medical support to 15 victims, who need prosthetic limbs or physical rehabilitation in order to move around freely again. Hospitals in Lira were underequipped to provide those services, and were forced to refer victims to hospitals in other regions. AAR Japan decided to financially assist Lira Regional Hospital so that they could purchase the necessary equipment and provide the needed services. The Hospital has begun its new operation and many victims in the region no longer have to travel a long distance to receive treatment.

We will do our best to keep helping people in Uganda. We very much appreciate all your help and donations afforded through GlobalGiving. Thank you for your time.

Prosthetic limbs are custom made
Prosthetic limbs are custom made
Mine and UXO victims receive full treatment
Mine and UXO victims receive full treatment

Links:

Feb 28, 2013

Summary of Project in Fukushima for Past 6 Months

Boo!!! Santa is in town!
Boo!!! Santa is in town!

Overview of the Damage that Still Remains

It has been nearly two years since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11th, 2011. In spite of the steady recovery process, many people are still suffering from the aftereffects of the disaster. Many people are still displaced because of the radiation spill at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture. For example, evacuees are forced to stay in temporary housing complexes because their homes and workplaces were completely washed away by the tsunami.

According to the Ministry of Reconstruction in Japan, as of December 12th 2012, there are still 98,235 people living in the temporary housing complexes and other types of publicly subsidized residences in Fukushima Prefecture alone. In the Tohoku region as a whole (Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate Prefectures), there are 251,869 people who share the same fate.

Number of evacuees living in temporary housing complexes and other subsidized housing

  • Fukushima = 98,235
  • Miyagi = 112,008
  • Iwate = 41,626
  • TOTAL = 251,869

Number of evacuees who evacutaded out of their home prefectures and still cannot go back

  • Fukushima = 57,954
  • Miyagi = 8,079
  • Iwate = 1,674
  • TOTAL = 67,707

 

For those who used to live within 20km of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture, there is still no prospect of being able to go back to their homes in the near future. For those whose houses are outside of that restricted area, the problem of the radiation contamination still looms. There is an ongoing effort to cleanse and decontaminate the residential areas, but the effect is very limited and temporary. Since the forests and the soil of mountains regions have accumulated radioactive particles over time, every rainfall carries the threat of radioactive contamination via water streams, resulting in increases of radiation levels in residential areas downstream.

 

Our Building Healthy Communities Project

We started the Building Healthy Communities Project to mitigate the physical and psychological pain felt by the victims of the March 11th disaster. We hoped to help people living in temporary housing complexes recover from their many losses – their loved ones, homes, workplaces, and precious personal possessions.

Through the Building Healthy Communities Project, we hoped to foster strong, personal interaction among the victims so that they may get over their plight not alone, but as a community. People would get to know each other and start to build new supportive relationships, and as that happens on a larger and larger scale, it would re-vitalize a sense of community and the hope of regaining some normalcy.

The Building Healthy Communities Project mainly consists of 2 activities:

  1. Community gathering events held at community centers in temporary housing complexes.
  2. Overnight field trips for elementary school students to play outside without worrying about radiation.

Between July 1st, 2012 and December 31st, 2013 we have held 9 events all together. As intended, each event was enjoyed by many elderly people and small children. Below is a record of the number of events and the number of participants we had for each activity.

  • Community gathering events: 6 events, 460 participants
  • Overnight field trips for kids: 3 events, 96 participants

We appreciate all the kind messages and generous donations that enable us to organize these events to help alleviate the pain, sadness and stress of those affected. We will continue our support for those still suffering, and every donation will help us reach as many people in need as possible. Finally, please take a look at the photos below to see how our activities are translating into smiles.

Lots of colorful hearts for me and my family
Lots of colorful hearts for me and my family
Building a new Eiffel tower out of colored cups
Building a new Eiffel tower out of colored cups
Making original Christmas decorations
Making original Christmas decorations
"Who wants to knead flour to make noodles?" "Me!!"
"Who wants to knead flour to make noodles?" "Me!!"
Family that came to an overnight field trip
Family that came to an overnight field trip
All together now!
All together now!
Jan 29, 2013

Finding a Solution to the Crucial Problem of Condensation in Temporary Housing of Elderly People

Now she can live in her temporary housing at ease
Now she can live in her temporary housing at ease

Condensation Becomes a Crucial Problem

In 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.

A resident, Mr. HATAKEYAMA working on ceiling
A resident, Mr. HATAKEYAMA working on ceiling
Cutting the heat insulation material for ceiling
Cutting the heat insulation material for ceiling
A volunteer who is working to help his aunt
A volunteer who is working to help his aunt
Working outside in freezing weather
Working outside in freezing weather
Tightly sealed to prevent condensation and mold
Tightly sealed to prevent condensation and mold
Residents prepared delicious lunch for the workers
Residents prepared delicious lunch for the workers
 

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