6.20.2015

South Sudan: World Refugee Day on June 20- Supporting the people of South Sudan

AAR Japan currently supports Syrian refugees in Turkey, Afghan refugees in Pakistan and South Sudanese refugees in Kenya. AAR Japan’s Ryo KAKUTANI, who was stationed in South Sudan for four years until 2013, reports on its assistance to South Sudanese refugees.

Thrust into a civil war just two years after independence

“I deeply regret that I have to be here today,” were my first words when I spoke in July 2014 at the opening ceremony of a school that was built by AAR Japan inside Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Since 2006, AAR Japan has carried out projects – setting up wells and water supply facilities and offering hygiene and sanitation education – in Kapoeta in the Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan (southern Sudan at the time), near the border with Kenya. South Sudan successfully gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but a civil war broke out again in December 2013, displacing some two million people, or about one fifth of the population. Approximately 500,000 citizens fled to neighboring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya as refugees. The school AAR Japan set up inside Kakuma Refugee Camp was designed for children who had escaped from the conflict in South Sudan.
Family who managed to reach the refugee camp being overwhelmed by intense heat and fatigue (Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, February 4th, 2014)

6.12.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors -No Time Should be Lost in Restoring Schools where Children can Safely Learn

Schools reopened, but…

Following the major earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th, AAR Japan’s emergency response team has been involved in relief efforts in Tasarpu Village, in the mountainous Dhading District.  We have distributed food, tent materials and daily necessities to 1,299 families in the village from May 9th to 21st. We are now focusing our efforts on the assessment for the construction of temporary learning centers in the neighboring villages of Tahkre and Jeewanpur as well as in Tasarpu.

For about a month after the earthquake, all the schools in the disaster-stricken areas were closed. Some schools reopened on May 31st. During the school closure, engineers from the Educational Bureau of Dhading District assessed the safety of the school buildings in the district, marking buildings at risk of collapsing in red and ones deemed safe in green. In Tasarpu Village, where we delivered relief goods, there are 11 schools. Forty-five classrooms in seven out of 11 schools were marked red. Fifty-three classrooms in seven of ten schools in Tahkre Village and 52 classrooms in ten of 11 schools in Jeewanpur Village were also assessed to be dangerous. The local government has not announced any specific policies on how to deal with the classrooms labeled dangerous. Because of this lack of policy information, some schools continue using the classrooms marked red while others refrain from using them.

A highly dangerous school building with shear cracking visible on the entire surface of walls (A school in the 2nd Ward of Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, June 1st, 2015).

6.09.2015

Japan: Giving Talks in Public Talk Series in Kumamoto, Fukuoka, and Matsue

What can the Japanese do in response to the crisis in Syria?

From May 20th until May 23rd, AAR Japan held a public talk series held in book stores in Kumamoto, Fukuoka, and Matsue. The title of this series was, "The Japanese, Syrian Refugees, and Islam - Photojournalist x Humanitarian Aid." AAR Japan's Yoshifumi KAGEHIRA gave a talk at the event. This event was held to commemorate the publication of photojournalist Yoshifumi KAWABATA's book; it was made possible by the cooperation of KAWABATA, Shinhyoron Co., Ltd. (the publisher of his book), and all the book stores that served as the venues.

Nagasaki Book Store is Kumamoto's vintage book store. The participants listened attentively to Syria's complicated circumstances, as well as the harsh conditions that the refugees face. (May 20th, 2015)

6.01.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - One Month After - Refugee Life in a Mountain Village

A space to spend nights together as a family

The AAR Japan emergency response team’s activities continue in the village of Tasarpu, in the mountainous Dhading District.  From May 9th to 21st, the team has been distributing food rations and household utensils to the 1,299 family units in the village.  The food rations include rice, dahl beans, salt, cooking oil, masala, and turmeric.  The household utensils include tent materials (a 3.6x5.5m tarpaulin, 30m of rope to build the tent with, floor mats, mosquito net, blankets, feminine sanitary napkins, and buckets.

After distribution of the relief items was complete, the team revisited each ward of Tasarpu Village and saw that inhabitants of the area are making full use of the tent materials, and families now have a place where they can spend the nights together.  Directly following the disaster, Suun Maya Tamang, a resident of Tasarpu village’s 4th ward, was able to procure no more than a small vinyl sheet she found, so she and her family had to sleep in various different refugee tents.  With only 5kg of government supplied rice and no other aid in sight, Suun says she was at her wit’s end. With the materials she received from AAR Japan, her family of 10 can now live out of one tent.  “Up in the mountains the days are hot and the nights grow very cold, so I am very thankful for the support we received from AAR Japan.  The blankets are especially important for us”, she said.
Suun and her daughter, standing before the tent they built with the relief items from AAR Japan. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)

5.22.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors- "Finally, I Can Sleep Under the Same Roof as My Family."

Long-awaited tent materials 

AAR Japan's emergency assistance team has been providing assistance to the Tasarpu village in the mountainous Dhading District. On May 16th, we distributed food and household supplies in the 3rd and 4th wards of the village. In these earthquake-stricken areas, survivors whose houses had collapsed were waiting to receive floor mats, mosquito nets, and tents to keep them out of the rain. Given the shortage of tent supplies within Nepal, our emergency assistance team procured tents from the neighboring country, India.

Ms.Kabitn Tamang, who received relief supplies from AAR Japan said, "We can finally make our own tent for my family”. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 18th, 2015) 

5.15.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - at a Mountaintop Village with Terrible Earthquake Damage

Transporting relief goods to a distribution site by following mountain passes and along a river

The emergency response team of Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) has been continuing emergency relief activities in Tasarpu Village of the mountainous Dhading District. On May 14th, the team distributed relief supplies to a total of 308 households in the 2nd and 8th wards at the back of the village.

First AAR Japan transported relief goods by four, four-ton trucks from the capital Kathmandu to the foot of the mountain, which takes about three hours. The team then transferred the relief supplies from the trucks to five tractors at the riverbank, and moved along the river. Following the strong aftershock that occurred two days ago, the team talked with local drivers, and decided that this route was safer than through the mountain passes. After moving along the river for about an hour, the team arrived at a low-lying area, which was the AAR Japan’s distribution site.

Women of the 8th ward of Tasarpu Village waiting in line to receive long-awaited relief supplies.

5.13.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - AAR Japan Continues the Delivery of Goods to the Mountain Region of Tasarpu Village

The emergency response team of AAR Japan has been operating on site since April 29th to assist victims of the earthquake, which hit Nepal on April 25th. The team distributed emergency relief goods in the mountainous area of Tasarpu Village, Dhading District; specifically in the 1st, 5th and 7th wards of the village on May 9th, and in the 3rd, 6th and 9th wards on May 11th.

Emergency relief goods distributed on May 11th were as follows:
Site of distribution: The 3rd, 6th and 9th wards, Tasarpu Village, Dhading District
Target households: 473 households
Distributed items:
[Food]: Rice for two weeks, dahl beans, salt, cooking oil, and spices (masala and turmeric)
[Household utensils]: Buckets, two mosquito nets, one floor mat

Villagers gather together at the distribution site. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 11th, 2015)