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Jan 23, 2014

Civic Force responds in the Philippines (digest)

Super Typhoon Haiyan pounded central Philippines,including Leyte and Samar provinces on November 8. The number of dead and missing has climbed to more than7,200 people. According to the Philippine government, Haiyan affected over 14 million people in one way oranother, which accounts for more than 10% of the total population. Although one month has passed since the powerful typhoon swept through the region, many peopleare still taking shelter in evacuation centers or devastatedareas near the ruins of their homes.

Typhoon Haiyan kept its intensity while approaching thePhilippines and registered a maximum wind velocity of 325kph. In addition to the strong winds and torrential rain, it also brought powerful storm surges resembling tsunami, which added to the damage. Moreover, many people in Leyte province have been living in poverty to begin with and the area had not been equipped with sufficient disaster management systems. Many of the residents of this province originally lived along the coast where the land is almost atsea level. But with the rapid development and economic growth of urban areas, the outflow of the poor spurred, resulting in more than half of the population living in crude housing--another factor that caused extensive damage.

Our aid activities went through difficulties due to disruptions in communication and transportation. We have faced many challenges: delays in shipping emergency relief goods from Manila to disaster-hit provinces; difficulties in obtaining transportation, such as ferries to the affected areas and trucks to deliver relief supplies; and deterioration in public security making it difficult for beneficiaries to reach distribution sites.Clara a 62 year-old native of Leyte province, said, “I have been making a living as a rice farmer. The typhoon took away all the harvested rice and seeds for the next season.What am I supposed to do?” Next was Romel, 42, who told us about his struggle to survive. “I live in an area far from the main road, so no relief deliveries had been made to my area. And on November 15, I finally received my first food ration dropped from a helicopter. It was the only emergency aid made available to me after the disaster.”

In order to aid those who are overcome by the dire situation, Civic Force set up a designated bank account for donations for those affected in the Philippines starting November 11. At the same time, we dispatched our staff members, includingthose who are originally from the Philippines and provided emergency supplies. In our report this month, we will introduce the relief activities we have been involved in fromthe day Haiyan hit the area until now.

For more of this report, please check the file below.

Dec 13, 2013

Monthly Report vol.30

A massage from Disaster Areas

Two and a half years have passed since the March 11 earthquake. This section showcases the efforts towards recovery by the people living in the affected areas. For this round, we feature Mr. and Mrs. Kikuchi, who run“Tairyo-Maru” (roughly translated as the “good catch boat” ) at the Fukko Yatai Mura, Kesennuma Yokocho, a“temporary mall” for reconstruction in KesennumaCity. The food stall serves traditional fishermen s fare.

We used to run a horumonyaki (barbecued beef and pork offal) restaurant inKesennuma City, before it was washed away by the tsunami. When we were thinking of starting all over again, we happened to find out about the plan for the “temporary mall’ village.” So we started “Tairyo-Maru” in November 2011 along with the opening of the village.

With Masao’ s 30 years of experience working as a chief on a deep sea tuna fishingboat, we serve traditional fishermen’ s fare made with fresh tuna and bonito at ourfood stall. One of our signature dishes, the hoseki-don or “gemstones rice bowl”consists of a rice bowl topped with salmon roe, sea urchin, and fresh shrimp andcosts 3,000 yen each. Some might think it is too expensive a dish to be served at amakeshift food stall, but many customers are satisfied when they tried our dish. We use local ingredients and never compromise on taste. We also providelocal sake, which goes well with our dishes.

Many volunteers from across the nation come to Kesennuma City and drop by our stall. Some people sent us lettersand called us, even after they had left Kesennuma City.

We have to close our stall by the end of November because the period of operations for this mall will end then. Iwant to continue this business for the sake of those who have come and grew to like Kesennuma and our food stall.

We have a dream of starting a guest house in my hometown island of Oshima off the coast of Kesennuma. Likeeveryone else, we need to think about our future. We may not know what the future holds but we will move forward enthusiastically.

Dec 13, 2013

Monthly Report vol.31

A Message from Disaster

Two years and seven months have passed since Civic Force started activities to support reconstruction indisaster-hit areas of northeastern Japan. This section showcases the people who live in the affected areas andcontinue positive efforts towards recovery. As the 8th person, we interviewed Mr. Hisao Murakami, the owner of“Rakusho” , a Japanese-style pub called “izakaya” , in Sendai city.

Rikuzen-haranomachi Station is the third stop from Sendai Station on theSenseki railway line and after walking 30 seconds, you’ ll reach “Rakusho” , theizakaya I run. My hometown is Kesennuma city, so I offer local food of the Kesennuma region. Some of my customers are from Kesennuma city. When the disaster occurred, the inside of my shop became a mess because of the strongearthquake. But my main concern was my friends in my hometown who were affected by the tsunami. So for two months after the disaster, I kept my izakaya closed todeliver goods and prepare meals while traveling back and forth between Sendai and Kesennuma.

Thanks to the network of my former teammates from the Morioka Chuo HighSchool baseball team, many people including professional baseball players of Rakuten Rakuten Eagles visited to cheer us up. I was also engaged in activities such as holding baseball lessons by professional baseball players and inviting residents of temporary housings to baseball games. Because of the disaster, I gained new acquaintances who came to support us from all over the country including Shizuoka prefecture. While I wished to respond to their warm feelings, there were moments when I also felt people are becoming disconnected from each other due to the disaster.

The recommendations at my izakaya are fresh seafood, Kesennuma-style barbecued pork offal, and local foodsuch as “azara” . I want this shop to be a place where people gather to have a cheerful time and feel positive. Iam hoping to open an izakaya in Kesennuma city as well.

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