Flooding in west Japan: Reviving the Community Where People Can Live in Peace

Half a year has passed since Japan experienced significant rainfall particularly in western Japan in early July. Still now, 40,466 houses are totally or partially destroyed, and restoration work is unfinished (as of November 6th, 2018.  Reported by Fire and Disaster Management Agency Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters). AAR Japan has been giving support to social welfare facilities left without aid in Okayama Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture.

From the perspective of children
A social welfare service corporation named “Link” (in Kurashiki, Okayama), established in 2011, has set up a variety of multi-functional welfare facilities since. Among them is Mabi Community Support Center, which since 2014 has been offering consultation sessions for PWDs and their family members, while providing a variety of information including how to utilize the welfare system. However, due to the torrential rains that reached as high as the second floor, all the furniture and office supplies were destroyed. AAR donated desks, chairs, bookshelves and other items that are necessary for the reopening of the Center.
Mitsuru Namatame, in a briefing session on the conditions of Mabi Community Life Support Center. (November 21st, 2018)
This Center has also been offering a place where all people in the village, whether PWDs or not, can meet other citizens. When we visited the Centre in November, we saw the staff working hard to reopen the Center by putting together the desks and the bookshelves. They said, “Thanks to your support, we changed the old desks and chairs to new ones that are easier for children to use. Now, visitors find it more comfortable to come and have consultations with us.” Since there are baby chairs in the Centre, those with babies or small children are welcome to visit the Centre.
The Centre is scheduled to re-open in January 2019, so the staff are busy making preparations.
A consultation room in Mabi Community Life Support Center. Local people with small children
   are now welcome to visit this space for consultation. (November 21st, 2018)
More time to spend with the users
On September 26th and November 14th, AAR Japan donated two vehicles to an NPO named “Yasuragi” located in Yasuura District in Kure City in Hiroshima. Their facility was flooded above the ground level and the vehicles they were using for transporting the users were washed away. The director of the NPO, Ms. Kimiyo Matsushige said, “With only one small vehicle, we had to make two to three trips for transporting the users every day. It was stressful for our staff and the users. Now that you have donated a larger vehicle which can accommodate more people, we don’t have to make as many trips. We can now save a lot of time, which enables us to spend more time with the users. We are looking forward to taking our users for a hanami trip (cherry blossoms viewing).”
A vehicle for transport (to the left) and the residents in an NPO “Yasuragi”.  They are holding letters representing “Arigato (Thank you)!”  Haruko Tanaka, AAR staff, is on the right end.
In Yasuragi, it is now harvest season for lemons. The users were helping the staff with peeling out black spots and packing. One of the users commented, “When I heard that the facility was damaged by torrential rains, I was very much worried not only about the building but also the people I was working with. I was extremely happy to meet my friends after a long while.”
The users at Yasuragi welcomed us again, and I was impressed that the users at Yasuragi were very cheerful, always helping each other.
Lemons harvested by the residents in “Yasuragi”. These lemons are sold or used as the ingredients of cheesecake made in a local cafe named “YAGI.CAFE”.   (November 29, 2018)

Yasuragi runs a cafe named “YAGI.CAFE” located near the Yasuura district in Kure City.  This cafe is very famous for cheesecake. The cafe was closed for a while because they had to help clean the rooms in Yasuragi after the disaster. But it was reopened it so that local people and the customers who found the information about the cafe online would be able to visit it as soon as possible. It also made it possible for the users to start working within a few days.

If you are interested in this cafe, please access the Facebook account “YAGI.CAFE”.
The cheesecake served in “Yasuragi”, where the residents work, is very famous. (November 29, 2018)
AAR Japan will continue to give support so that PWDs and their family members can live in their community in peace and comfort.

This activity is made possible through your donations and the subsidy by Japan Platform (JPF).

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Disasters in Japan: Relief Assistance for the PWDs, the Elderly and Children

AAR Japan has been providing continuous relief assistance to the victims of the following disasters: torrential rains in the western Japan in July 2018, Hokkaido earthquake in September 2018, torrential rains in the northern part of Kyushu in July 2017, and the Kumam0to earthquake in April 2016. Immediately after these disasters, we started to provide victims with hot meals and distribute daily necessities and, while doing so, made sure that no People with Disabilities (PWDs), elderly residents or children were left behind. We are very appreciative of your generous support. The following is a report on how things stand in these areas.

Waiting for the re-opening of the mushroom cultivation center
– supporting the victims of Hokkaido Earthquake since September 2018

A big earthquake with a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese intensity scales hit Hokkaido in September 2018, with the central-eastern part of Iburi Subprefecture as its epicenter. AAR has been and still is supporting its welfare facilities in Mukawa town and Hidaka town respectively. The Hobetsu employment support center run by the social welfare corporation Aisei-kai (in Mukawa) owns a place called “Ryokuryu Aperasu”, where PWD are employed to grow and cultivate mushrooms. The earthquake seriously damaged the two rooms for mushroom cultivation, destroying the shelves where mushroom beds were installed as well as the ventilation systems. AAR is planning to help them with the installment of the new ventilation systems, but the contractors are still too busy to start it.  Since mushroom cultivation requires a ventilation system to control the temperature and humidity, we are doing our best to start working for the restoration of the system.
Mushroom shelves in the cultivating room damaged by the earthquake (October 19th, 2018)
Providing hot meals at Kami-Atsuma Elementary School (in Atsuma town). For six days after the   
    Earthquake, we prepared 980 hot meals. From the right, Tsutomu Kato (AAR Director) and Shin’ichiro Ohara (AAR staff)  (September 12th, 2018)

Helping the victims with the restarting of their life

Torrential rains in Fukuoka Prefecture and Oita Prefecture in July 2017 led to flooding of rivers and landslides on a large scale. AAR Japan has been supporting an NPO called YNF (in Fukuoka city in Fukuoka Prefecture), whose aim is to reconstruct the livelihoods of disaster victims who live in their own houses or in temporary housings. Among the victims are those who have no financial support after the donations were stopped, those who are isolated and are at a loss without any information about how to ask for public welfare support or whom to ask for advice. Paying special attention to those who are leading an unstable life, YNF has been acting as a liaison, offering a variety of consultation services for those in need, visiting the victims’ houses, helping them with various procedures and giving necessary information. A person whom YNF helped with the application for the demolition of his house with the cost borne by the local government, said, “I was not sure about the application procedure, so I am very grateful to YNF for their support.” Another said, “As I was in and out of hospital, I found it almost impossible to make it by the due date, but thanks to the support of YNF, I managed to make the application.”
At a customer service counter, Ezaki Taro (Chief Director) is discussing the contents of support with the staff in the city office. (November 14th, 2018)
Providing mental care for children with picture books

Kumamoto Prefecture and Oita Prefecture were hit by one earthquake after another in April 2016, with 270 casualties, including disaster-related deaths as of December 13, 2018,  as reported by Crisis Management Division Kumamoto Prefecture. AAR Japan has been engaged in relief activities in the Minami Aso area, which was most badly affected. An NPO named “Minai Aso Ehon no Kuni” (in Minami Aso Village in Kumamoto Prefecture) has been actively engaged in activities using picture books led by Mr. Shomei Yoh (Director of Aso Highland Museum Park) and Mr. Shotei Hayama, who had their own library. After the earthquakes, children living in temporary housing units found it difficult to go to the library and enjoy reading picture books as they used to, which was why this NPO started a “mobile” library. This has helped children get over their stress. AAR Japan has helped the NPO start a traveling library by donating picture books, shelves and chairs.

At a traveling library, more than 80 children participated in events such as storytelling with pictures.  (December 16th, 2018)

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Donating at the Japan Post Office
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Account Name: Nanmin wo Tasukerukai
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