Kumamoto Earthquakes: One month passed. Listening to the voices of those unheard

Standing by each of the survivors

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). As of May 8, AAR Japan delivered aid to 5 evacuation centers (in Kumamoto City, Aso City, town of Mashiki, and village of Nishi Hara) and 11 welfare centers (in Kumamoto City, village of Nishi Hara, village of South Aso, town of Ōzu, town of Mifune, town of Mashiki, and town of Kashima).
Survivors continue to live as evacuees even after one month since the earthquake. The survivors’ needs change daily.

AAR Japan draws upon 2 lessons from its past experiences with emergency response in Japan and in foreign countries: “Anticipated response” and “Listen to the voices of those unheard.” Examples of the former include providing adult diapers while other organizations focus on distributing baby diapers and providing sanitary products to evacuation centers where evacuees walk around in facilities with their shoes on. Examples of the latter include providing appropriate aid to the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are less accessible. Many elderly and PWDs take shelter at facilities that they are accustomed to visiting because evacuation centers for the general public do not accommodate their needs. Among elderly/PWD welfare facilities, there are some that only provide day services and are therefore not built to host persons overnight. AAR Japan visits these facilities to conduct needs assessment and deliver necessary food items, sanitary products, and household goods.

Although emergency aid is no longer required, some welfare facilities still struggle to identify its needs, so there is a need to actively conduct detailed needs assessment at each of those facilities. An 83-year-old lady at the Ikoi no Sato welfare center (currently being utilized as an evacuation center) of the town of Mashiki said, “My house did not collapse, but was significantly damaged. I cannot clear the house by myself. I have not been able to get proper sleep because I fear the continuing aftershocks. My hip is weak and the mattress at evacuation center is worsening my lower-back pain.”

Since AAR Japan has been working closely with other support organizations, we were able to immediately communicate the needs to IMC (International Medical Corps), a professional medical association. IMC dispatched 4 nurses to Ikoi no Sato. Until AAR Japan’s visit, one government official had been managing Ikoi no Sato by himself, so he was appreciative when AAR Japan conducted a detailed needs assessment and coordinated with organizations with the proper expertise.

AAR Japan remains committed to conducting needs assessment by to listening closely to the voices of each evacuee.

In addition to many thanks for all the support, our relief activities of Kumamoto earthquake during April were supported by the donation from Mercy Relief.

Chiaki Furukawa (AAR Japan staff, right) listens to the 83-year-old lady’s needs
at the Ikoi no Sato welfare center. (May 8th, 2016)

For the latest updates, also see our Twitter account.
Account: @aarjapan  http://twitter.com/aarjapan
Please contact Natori (Ms.) and Yamada (Ms.) for further inquiry.
TEL: +81-3-5423-4511
FAX: +81-3-5423-4450


Kumamoto Earthquakes: Delivering aid to elderly nursing homes.

Unrestored water supply – Struggles from days without water for hydration or bathing

On April 26, AAR Japan’s emergency response team distributed aid to 4 welfare centers and collaborated with The Peace Project (non-profit organization) to operate soup kitchens.

Midori Center, an elderly nursing home in the town of Nishi-Hara in Aso county, continues to struggle without water. AAR Japan’s emergency response team delivered 50 packets of oral rehydration powder so that elderly survivors could hydrate.

The team also delivered aid to Yuyu Kashima, an elderly nursing home in the town of Kashima of Kamishiki county. Aid includes 60 bottles of sports drinks for hydration, 10 packets of body wipes because the occupants cannot bathe, and 36 packets of wet tissue.

The Oasis elderly nursing home in the town of Mifune of Mashiki county, which currently accommodates 50 occupants and 2 survivors in need of care, also continues to struggle without water. The emergency response team delivered 6 bottles of alcohol-based disinfectant hand-spray, and 500 yōkan (adzuki-bean jelly) donated to AAR Japan by Toraya Confectionery Co., Ltd. “We will serve yōkan to occupants as snack. We are appreciative of the donation,” commented employees of the nursing home.

The team also delivered 48 cup noodles, 18 bottles of water, 12 bottles of cold beverages, and 24 packets disinfectant tissue to Ayumi, an assisted living center in Kumamoto City. Although Ayumi is an assisted living center visited by the elderly only during the day, the elderly users live in fear of further aftershocks and have requested for shelter at the center. However, Ayumi employees have also been affected by the earthquake and there are not enough persons that can work overnight at the center. Ayumi lacks the capacity to accommodate the elderly users and it has been turning down the elderly users’ requests.

Further, the team delivered 200 pairs of compression leggings for prevention of deep-vein thrombosis (products donated by CATALOGHOUSE Ltd.) to the Disaster Control headquarters of the Kumamoto Prefectural Office. Since proper use of compression leggings requires guidance by specialists such as health nurses, these compression leggings will be distributed to evacuation centers in the town of Mashiki, town of Ozu, Aso City, and Kumamoto City with the assistance of Kayako Chishima, an investigator with the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).

AAR remains committed to supporting those affected by the Kumamoto earthquake.

Delivered aid to Oasis, an elderly nursing home.
(Kazuya Omuro (right), April 26th, 2016)

Delivered aid to Yuyu Kashima, an elderly care center in the town of Kashima of Kamishiki county.
(Kazuya Omuroi (right), April 26th, 2016)

Foundation of the Yuyu Kashima building sank after the earthquake.
(April 26th, 2016)

For the latest updates, also see our Twitter account.
Account: @aarjapan  http://twitter.com/aarjapan
Please contact Natori (Ms.) and Yamada (Ms.) for further inquiry.
TEL: +81-3-5423-4511
FAX: +81-3-5423-4450


Kumamoto Earthquakes: Survivors still in need of aid.

AAR Japan continues to deliver much-needed sanitary products

In response to the earthquakes that rocked Kumamoto prefecture on April 14, Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan) dispatched the emergency response team, which consisted of 6 members as of April 20: Ben Kato (a board member), Go Igarashi, Kazuya Omuro, Shinichiro Ohara, Masaru Miki, and Yuta Funakoshi. The emergency response team is delivering aid, operating soup kitchens, and conducting needs assessment. 

On April 20, the team delivered much-needed relief aid, consisting primarily of sanitary products, to the West Aso Primary School evacuation center in Aso City. Specifically, the team delivered approximately 720 feminine hygiene and sanitary products, 480 pairs of cotton work gloves, approximately 120 adult diapers, approximately 330 baby and infant diapers, 1,000 plastic bags (used to take away food items distributed at soup kitchens), 360 cup noodles, 50 toothbrush kits (each kit is comprised of a toothbrush and a bottle of toothpaste), 36 rolls of toilet paper, 14 cans of baby formula, and 2 packages of disinfectant wipes. AAR Japan has been procuring sanitary products from Fukuoka City and Kurume City of Fukuoka Prefecture because these products are scarce in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Much-needed sanitary products were delivered to the West Aso Primary School evacuation center. (Go Igarashi (left), April 20th, 2016)

Soup kitchens in the town of Mashiki and Aso city
On April 20, the team collaborated with The Peace Project, an NPO, to operate soup kitchens at 2 locations, the Aso City Primary School and the Ino Primary School. AAR Japan learned that the Aso City Primary School evacuation center was in need of food and the emergency response team served sautéed vegetables to 300 people there. Once again, local survivors actively participated in helping with the soup kitchen. “Warm foods have been unavailable since the quake,” said survivors, expressing delight of the food distributed by AAR Japan’s soup kitchen.
At the Ino Primary School in the town of Mashiki, the team served yakisoba rolls (bread sandwiching stir-fried noodles with meats and vegetables) to 210 people for lunch and tomato-based meat stew to 800 people for dinner. “Tasty,” commented people at the evacuation center who taste tested the soup kitchen foods. “Despite the continuing effects of the quake and aftershocks, we will try to stay positive,” said municipal government employees who provided assistance with food preparation for the soup kitchens. Middle school student evacuees also approached the emergency response team, saying “Is there anything we can help with?”
Aftershocks and heavy rainfall continue to worsen conditions in the affected areas. AAR remains committed to supporting those affected by the Kumamoto earthquakes. 
Please donate and help us continue to the support the people of Kumamoto.
“Tasty,” said survivors residing at the Ino Primary School who ate the tomato-based meat stew. (Masaru Miki (right), April 20th, 2016)
Ben Kato (a board member) preparing sautéed vegetables at the Aso Primary School. (April 20th, 2016)

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Account Number: 00100-9-600
Account Name: Nanmin wo Tasukerukai (難民を助ける会)
Please write down “Kumamoto” and specify if you need a receipt.

For the latest updates, also see our Twitter account.
Account: @aarjapan http://twitter.com/aarjapan
Please contact Natori (Ms.) and Yamada (Ms.) for further inquiry.
TEL: +81-3-5423-4511
FAX: +81-3-5423-4450