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)

5.15.2015

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)

5.11.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - We Distributed Relief Supplies to Tasarpu, a Mountain Village

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan)’s emergency response team has been working on the ground since April 29th to support the victims of the large earthquake which occurred in Nepal on April 25th.  On May 9th, we distributed relief supplies in Tasarpu village of the mountainous Dhading District.  Natsuki MATSUMOTO reports.

Distributed supplies in a steep mountain region where rice is much needed

At the end of a steep mountain path, is the village of Tasarpu.  Even though this village had been greatly affected by the quakes with 90% of the houses badly damaged, they had received rice from the government only once, and no other aid group had yet reached the area.  AAR Japan spoke with the district government, and decided to distribute relief supplies to all of the households.  On May 9th, in the first wave of distribution, food and basic necessities were distributed to 389 households in three of the village wards.  We will distribute supplies in the remaining six wards.

May 9th Distribution Details

Location: 1st, 5th, and 7th wards of Tasarpu Village, Dhading District
Number of Households: 389 households
Distributed Items:
[Food] two weeks supply of rice, dal beans, salt, cooking oil, condiments (masala, turmeric)
[Household Items] a bucket, two mosquito nets, a floor mat


Ms. Bindo Lama (age 23), who received the supplies from AAR Japan’s Chiaki FURUKAWA (left), told us with a smile that “More than anything, we are grateful for the rice.”

5.07.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors- Seeking Food in the Ruins and the Difficult Conditions in the Affected Mountain Region

AAR Japan’s emergency assistance team (Noriyasu OKAYAMA and Fukurou KAKIZAWA) have actively worked on site in Nepal since April 29th to assist the victims of the powerful earthquake that struck the country on April 25th of this year. On May 3rd, Chiaki FURUKAWA and Natsuki MATSUMOTO joined the AAR Japan team, bringing the organization’s operation to four staff members.

On May 5th, we visited Tasarpu Village in the Dhading District in the western mountainous area of Kathmandu for assessment. Here are updates of the situation on the ground.

Most of the villages in the mountain are destroyed and are reduced to rubble 

The emergency assistance team assessed Tasarpu Village in the Dhading District on May 5th. It is located four hours away from Kathmandu, of which three hours are on steep mountain roads. Although there was serious damage to the village, including 1000 of 1200 houses partially or totally damaged, this was the first time any aid organization had reached the area. Moreover, unpaved steep footpaths were the only access to the highest area of the village. Most of the houses were completely destroyed, and the villagers were living in emergency shelters covered by tattered tarpaulin.

Villagers left under hastily-made emergency shelters covered by tattered tarpaulins (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 5th, 2015).

5.05.2015

Nepal: Emergency Assistance to the Major Earthquake - Assessment in the Mountainous Area Struck by the Earthquake

AAR Japan’s emergency assistance team (Noriyasu OKAYAMA and Fukuro KAKIZAWA) have been actively working on-site since April 29th to assist the victims of the powerful earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th. On May 3rd, Chiaki FURUKAWA and Natsuki MATSUMOTO joined the team. Currently, the operation is led by these four staff members.

Having assessed the situation, the team decided to focus its aid activities in Dhading District, a mountainous area located in the west of Kathmandu. Three members visited the district on May 4th. Here is the latest report from the site.

To the quake struck mountainous region

Approximately 10 days have passed since the massive earthquake. While the urban areas of Kathmandu slowly return to normal, there has been a delay in relief efforts reaching the gravely damaged mountainous regions due to their geographical inaccessibility. AAR Japan has been working to reach out to such areas since the earthquake took place. Gorkha District, in which AAR initially considered focusing its activity, is already receiving aid from various organizations. In order to distribute aid resources more effectively, the AAR Japan team decided instead to target its operations in Dhading District, which is located five hours by car to the west of Kathmandu. More than half of the 70,000 families there are said to be affected, yet relief efforts in the area have so far fallen short.

Dhading District, marked on the map. The district is located approximately five hours from Kathmandu by car. 
On May 4th, three members of AAR Japan’s emergency response team departed Kathmandu for Dhading, while KAKIZAWA, who is in charge of procuring supplies, stayed behind. The road to Dhading is marked by a narrow mountain path. In Dhading, we spoke with Koirela and her family, who now shelter themselves in front of their collapsed home. Their extended family used to live nearby, divided into several households. As most of their houses were destroyed by the quake, they now live in tents provided by aid organizations.   Bunu Koirela (age 11) told us, “The earthquake was really scary, but we all ran out in a hurry, and so no one got hurt.” Deepshika (age 5 months), the youngest member of the family, was on the second floor of the building with the mother when the quake struck. As the house begun to crumble, the mother threw the baby out of the window in order to save her, and the older brother outside caught her safely.

In the district capital, Dhading Besi, the extent of damage to the houses appeared greater than in Kathmandu.  AAR Japan visited the officer in charge at the local government office and discussed the extent of the damage and potential aid activities. Based on this discussion and coordination with the local government, AAR Japan will distribute necessities, such as tarpaulins, and food for those affected within Dhading District. We would like to ask for your continuous support for our relief efforts as we begin to step up our operations in the region. 

Ms. Koirela’s home was destroyed by the quake. She saved the five-month old baby by throwing her out of the window of the second floor. Chiaki FURUKAWA of AAR Japan is pictured on the left. (Dhading District, May 4th, 2015)
In Dhading Besi, the capital of Dhading District, a greater number of buildings had collapsed due to the earthquake than in Kathmandu. Noriyasu OKAYAMA of AAR Japan (left) talking with a local resident. (Dhading Besi, May 4th, 2015) 
AAR Japan’s Noriyasu OKAYAMA (left) and Chiaki FURUKAWA (right) survey the current stocks and prices of various goods in a shop. (Dhading District, May 4th, 2015).
A hotel room in Dhading Besi being used as a shelter. (Dhading Besi, 4th May 2015)

*These activities are made possible thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, such as yourself, and a grant from Japan Platform (JPF).

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Chiaki FURUKAWA, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarter
After graduating from university, FURUKAWA worked for a human resource consultancy, among other companies, before going on to obtain a master’s degree in international development in the UK. After graduation she joined AAR Japan and was assigned to the Haiti Office in October 2010. She has been in charge of Afghanistan, Myanmar and Philippines operations since January 2012. (Born in Osaka) (Profile as of the date of the article)

Japanese-English translation by Ms. Hanano Sasaki
English editing by Ms. Fiona Chan

The article on this page 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.