7.17.2018

Western Japan Flood: Intense heat and cleaning work wear victims out


More than a week has passed since the flood and landslide hit western Japan. The midsummer heat has continued since the heavy rain stopped, and on July 14, it recorded a maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius. There are still about 2,890 people living in evacuation centers in Okayama prefecture, where 16,430 houses are without running of water, roads and railways still not fully restored (according to the announcement of Okayama prefecture on 15th July). The hard days continue for those affected.

Browned city, smell of sludge
The landscape of lush greenery on the way from Kurashiki station to Mabi-cho district changes drastically after crossing the bridge over the tributary of Takahashi River. Roads, grass fields, signs, and walls of houses.  Everything is browned with mud, such as. The traffic lights are not completely recovered, and in some places, the police officers were handling the traffic with hand signals. Muddy rubble, brought out of the houses, was piled neatly on both sides of the road. When we opened the car window, there was smell of sludge. According to the neighbors, the smell seems getting worse day by day as the heat gets tenser.
Muddy rubble, brought out of the houses, was piled neatly on both sides of the road (14th July, 2018)


More comfort for the evacuees
Living conditions of evacuation centers are gradually improving. To prevent people from disuse syndrome, physical therapists of the Japan Disaster Rehabilitation Assistance Team (JRAT) started exercises regularly at Niman Elementary School Evacuation Center in Kurashiki-City.  Air conditioners were installed not only in the gymnastic hall, but also in the classrooms used for evacuees who are in need of nursing care. As for the laundry, people had been forced to wash by hands, but now it became much easier as three washing machines were brought in.

However, there are many people, who go out during daytime to chek on their houses, and come back utterly discouraged after seeing only a heap of debris. Many volunteers, gathering from all over Japan during the consecutive holidays, will be of much help for the elderly who fell already exhausted to clean their houses.
 
There are still about 2,890 people living in evacuation centers in Okayama prefecture

Soup kitchen appreciated at shelter
AAR continues to deliver soup kitchens in collaboration with the Peace Project, an NPO, at Niman Elementary school Evacuation Center.
On 14th July, we offered cold hiyamugi noodles for 250 people for lunch, and ramen noodles for 230 people for dinner.
A man in his 50s told us how he survived the flood.  "I was in my house, near the river.  When the flood hit, I ran up to the second floor, but water came up to my ankle.  There was no rescue on that night, and I kept waiting for two full days and nights". He and his wife have been taking out the debris out of their house everyday, but removing even a single sheet of muddied tatami mat is a hard work.  "I ate curry the other day. I really appreciate the hot meal at the shelter after coming back from the hard labor."
AAR is delivering soup kitchens in collaboration with the Peace Project, an NPO, changing the menu everyday.  On 14th July, we offered cold hiyamugi noodles for 250 people for lunch, and ramen noodles for 230 people for dinner. (on the left is Shinichiro Ohara of AAR)
Distributing supplies while hearing the needs at shelters.(Haruko Tanaka in center)
 Various relief supplies have arrived in the afflicted areas, but there are still things that are in urgent need. AAR will continue to deliver soup kitchens and distribute items that are wanted in shelters and welfare centers, while listening to the voices of evacuees.

Please donate and help us support the people of western Japan.
http://www.aarjapan.gr.jp/english/support/

7.15.2018

Western Japan Flood: Providing Cold Somen Soup in Hot Summer Heat

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, in collaboration with the NPO, Peace Project, continued delivering soup kitchen on July 10 at Niman elementary school evacuation center in Kurashiki City.
The temperature rose up to 35 degrees Celsius, soup kitchen of cold somen noodles for lunch were welcomed by 200 people in the shelter.  The team also delivered stir-fried vegetables and miso-soup with pork and vegetables for 250 people for dinner.
After the flood, many people went back home temporarily during the day to clean their houses, but the work of scraping out the mud is endless and quite tiring. Returning to the evacuation center much exhausted, people were pleased to find meals ready to eat.  AAR will continue to deliver timely and appropriate aid to affected areas.

Hot summer sun shined on the affected area, and the temperature exceeded 35 degrees Celsius.
 
Shinichiro Ohara of AAR delivering meals to the affected.
People were exhausted after scraping out the mud from their flood damaged houses, but looked recovered after having meal.

Please donate

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

7.13.2018

Western Japan Flood:Deliverd Soup Kitchen in Okayama


In response to the downpours and flooding that hit western Japan in early July, Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR) dispatched the emergency response team on 9th July.
The team entered Okayama Prefecture on 9th July, where destruction is severe. Collaborating with the Peace Project, an NPO, AAR operated soup kitchen and deliverd curry for 250 people at Niman Elementary School Evacuation Center of Kurashiki city.
Gymnasium of Niman elementary school at Kurashiki city is used as a shelter.

People in the affected areas helped us prepare for the soup kitchen. The left side is Ben Kato, AAR's director and the head of the Peace Project.
AAR and Peace Project serverd curry to 250 people at the Niman Elementary shcool evacuation center on 9th July.

Please donate and help us support the people of western Japan.
http://www.aarjapan.gr.jp/english/support/

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



7.09.2018

West Japan downpours and flooding: AAR will provide Emergency Relief to People in the Affected Areas

In response to the downpours and flooding that hit Western Japan in early July, Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR) will provide Emergency Relief,  dispatching the emergency response team on 9th July.

The team will enter Okayama Prefecture, where destruction is severe.  AAR will provide food and supplies to the survivors. Collaborating with the Peace Project, an NPO, AAR will also operate soup kitchens for the people in the affected areas. Meanwhile, the team will conduct needs assessment for further assistance to those affected.
More damages and more evacuation are aggravating the situation every day. 

Please donate and help us support people of western Japan.

Please donate

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


3.08.2018

Turkey: Support for Syrian refugees to make the children’s’ future brighter

Thousands of people fled from Syria as refugees, due to the unending conflict happening there. Now the number of Syrians who live in Turkey has reached 3,540,000 (the number of registered refugees according to the Immigration Bureau, at the Ministry of the Interior of Turkey, as of March 1st, 2018). However, not everyone is able to live in a refugee camp and most of them have taken shelter in a town or village in Turkey. Since opening a community center in Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey, in 2014, AAR Japan has been supporting Syrian refugees who live in the area. We provide rehabilitation, assistive equipment, such as wheel chairs, and legal consultation. In addition to these services, we help them to make a living, find a job and offer educational support. Saori GOMI  from our Turkey Office reports on the activities for children at the center.

Supplementary courses and assistance for homework

Children studying at the center (September, 2017)

In the autumn of 2017, the Turkish government announced a new policy when they decided to transfer Syrian children to Turkish public schools, gradually closing the existing temporary educational facilities. The same happened in Şanlıurfa Province, where AAR Japan also operates. Since last September, many children have started going to Turkish public schools. However, the classes are given in Turkish; therefore, they are unable to understand the courses provided there. For these children, the community center offers the following lessons: for preschoolers there is basic child education. For primary school students, we offer Turkish and Arabic courses, using storytelling. There are also mathematics and science classes. Finally, for primary to high school students, there are supplementary lessons to explain the parts that they found difficult to follow at school. Furthermore, the center assists them in their homework. This is because their parents do not speak Turkish either, which makes it difficult for them to help with their children’s homework. As they get older, the children learn more complicated material, like mathematics, physics and chemistry, which are quite a challenge to understand in their second language. The center added additional supplementary classes to review these subjects. About 180 children take these courses every month.

Children who are studying hard. For those who can’t go to school, this is their only place of education. (November, 2017)


It’s not easy to keep up when the school classes are in Turkish. (October, 2017)

A library where children can study quietly and spend some time in peace

In October 2017, we opened a library in the community center. It is possible to find books here in both Turkish and Arabic. A number of Syrian refugees live with other families in a single house, which means that the children do not have any space to study without distractions. For these children, we provided a place where they can feel free to stop by anytime, take some time to read and do their homework. We also installed a computer there, one which we were not using at AAR Japan’s office, so that they can use it to do some research for their classes.

We hope that they make a lot of happy memories

Children don’t usually have an opportunity to go on a trip. They are overjoyed by this opportunity. (May, 2017)

The center regularly holds events such as concerts and sport contests. In September 2017, we were able to take a total of 50 children to the zoo. They had been looking forward to it for weeks and on the day of the trip, everyone dressed up in their best clothes. They were adorable.
The children were excited for the entire day, after seeing all of the animals they had learned about in their science class at the center. None of them had ever been to a zoo before, so it must have been especially enjoyable. In the past, they have all had sorrowful experiences. That is why we hope that, from now on, they will have happy memories that overcome these previous bad memories.

They also enjoyed playing in the Euphrates River. (September, 2017)

Precious time spent together, when they can have a good laugh. (September, 2017)

Smiles we can’t forget

Even though the children show their smiles at the community center, they are living in difficult situations.
In August 2017, two brothers, aged eight and ten years old, came to the center for a craft class. After talking to them, we found out that they were not going to school. Furthermore, they had bare feet and their clothes looked unclean. We suspected that it could be a sign of neglect and visited their home. During the visit, we found out that four families, including theirs, lived in a single house. The brothers’ mother had died in the conflict in Syria and their father wasn’t working, due to alcoholism. They didn’t even seem to be given enough to eat. Six other children who live in the same house were not going to school either. AAR Japan started supporting the families with a local NGO and began legal proceedings, to make sure all the children go to school. Until this happens, the center staff are teaching them Arabic and mathematics. When they started studying at the center and learnt the alphabet, the children were able to write their names for the first time and showed it to me with big smiles on their faces. I will never forget that day.
When I put myself on the ground in situations such as this, there are moments when I want to take my eyes away from the harsh situation faced by each child at the center. I encountered a child who lost their mother in the conflict, one whose father was missing, and a child who still can’t get a good night’s sleep because of the trauma from the air raids. On the other hand, there are some small children who have little memory of Syria and they look after their sick mother or live in poverty. However, I feel that because we go out into the field and interact with these children, it makes us able to notice their subtle changes and give them a suitable response and attentive support. I’d like to continue to support change for the future of the children, to make it a little brighter by being there with them, and always be conscious of what we notice and what we can do to improve things. In Turkey, the number of people who need support, just like these children, has been increasing. To support their prolonged life as refugees, I sincerely appreciate your continued support for AAR Japan’s activities.
[Reporter] (Profile as of the date of the article)

Saori GOMI, Turkey Office
She has been working at our Turkey Office since February, 2017 and engaged in Syrian refugee support. She grew up in the United States and moved to Japan after graduating from university. She joined AAR Japan after working at a major advertising agency for three and a half years. Her hope is to make the future of Syrian children a little brighter.

Japanese-English translation by Ms. Yukari ONDA
English editing by Mr. Richard Whale

This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.  

1.25.2018

The Great East Japan Earthquake: Fire extinguishers delivered to public housing for the disaster-affected


“Really thankful for delivering them to all households.”

Nearly seven years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake.  In Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, public housing for disaster-affected people began receiving residents in 2012, and approximately 700 residents currently live there.  AAR Japan, in consultation with Soma City, provided 410 fire extinguishers to five public housing compounds in the City.  Soma City is a windy place, and the public housing facilities are sometimes built in the form of row houses, where neighbors live side-by-side with narrow spaces between them.  Therefore it was feared that once a fire breaks out in one house, it may quickly spread in the neighborhood.  It was thus deemed necessary that not only some but all of the households are supplied with fire extinguishers.   
                             Residents of public housing for the disaster-affected. (January 10, 2018)

On January 10, 2018, a reporter visited a public housing compound for the disaster-affected in Soma City and heard from the residents in its meeting room.
According to the residents at the hearing, Soma City prior to the earthquake was a city highly conscious of disaster prevention, where the people practiced evacuation drills, cooperatively took precautions to prevent fire, and even organized a participatory group called the “women’s fire brigade,” which was engaged in supplying food and providing other services during evacuation drills.  After the earthquake, however, all these activities discontinued, and the people said they had been worried about what would happen in case of fire.  Many of the residents gathered said, “We are really thankful to AAR Japan for providing fire extinguishers to all the residential families,” “Fire extinguishers are not available in supermarkets nearby, and we did not know where to get one,” and “We ourselves are mindful of fire prevention , and yet the fire extinguishers give us an additional sense of security.”  AAR Japan is determined to continue its support activities in Northeast Japan.
    Residents of public housing for the disaster-affected received the fire extinguishers and said, 
                             “It will give us a further sense of security.” (January 10, 2018)

Reporter

Yuki SAKURAI, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters
Upon graduating from university, Sakurai worked in a civil foundation before studying Peace Studies at a graduate school in U.K.  After working for an NPO in Pakistan, he joined AAR Japan in August 2012.  Having worked for the Tajikistan program and others at the Tokyo Headquarters, he was stationed in Zambia and then in Tajikistan.  Sakurai now is at AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters, engaged in the Fukushima program and the stop-killer robot-campaign.  A father of three children, he is from Chiba Prefecture.


Japanese-English translation by Mr. Yukio KIUCHI
English editing by Ms. Laura Peters

This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.