Photo Exhibition “Women in Mine Action – Commemorating the 15th Anniversary since the Mine Ban Treaty” [December 17th-19th, 2014]

Photo Exhibition “Women in Mine Action – Commemorating the 15th Anniversary since the Mine Ban Treaty”
Focusing on women working in mine action in the world in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty [the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction], AAR Japan will hold a photo exhibition on “Women in Mine Action” at the Kensei Kinenkan, Tokyo.
Our female staff lecturing women about the risks of mines with a poster of full-size images (Afghanistan, February 19th, 2014 )


Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees: AAR Japan begins the distribution of food and other essential items

From the west, Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Suruc, Sanliurfa where AAR Japan is conducting the survey, and Viransehir.

Since The Islamic State (IS) began its military campaign against Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Northern Syria, on September 19, more than 188,000 Syrians have crossed the border and fled to South-Eastern Turkey (UN, 14.10.2014). The humanitarian aid effort by the Turkish government and the international community has not been able to keep up with the drastic increase in the number of refugees. AAR Japan is distributing food and basic daily necessities in Suruc District, Sanliurfa Province where there is a refugee population. Hiroko NAITO of AAR Japan reports on their relief efforts.


Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees: Surveying the situation in Suruc District, South-Eastern Turkey

On September 19, the Islamic State began its attack on Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) in Northern Syria after having self-proclaimed the establishment of a caliphate and unrecognized state spanning across Iraq and Syria. In the time since, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that more than 170,000 Syrians have fled across the Turkish border and escaped into South Eastern Turkey.  Ms. Hiroko NAITO of AAR Japan, who has been conducting surveys of the refugees’ situation on the ground, provides this report. 

From west to east: Ayn al-Arab (also known as “Kobane” in Kurdish), Suruc, Sanliurfa and Viransehir

Sounds of bomber aircraft flying overhead are heard in the shelter

On October 15, AAR Japan conducted a survey in cooperation with Support to Life (STL), a Turkish partner organization. The sound of bomber aircraft flying overhead could be heard from time to time and, in the distance on the other side of the border, black smoke, which was likely to be the result of airstrikes carried out by the same aircraft, could be seen.

Smoke, presumably from airstrikes, rises near the Turkish-Syrian border. (October 15th, 2014)


Emergency Assistance to Syrian Refugees: Growing Numbers of Refugee Families Still Have Nowhere to Stay

Since The Islamic State (IS) began its military campaign against Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Northern Syria, more than 200,000 Syrians have crossed the border and fled to south-eastern Turkey in a month (UNOCHA, October 24th, 2014). Suruc County in the Sanliurfa Province, Turkey is an area, which has had a refugee influx AAR Japan has been conducting survey for families, who are taking shelters outside refugee camps and distributing food and basic necessities in this area. Yuichiro Yamamoto, AAR Japan staff member currently carrying out on-site activities in Turkey, has filed this report on newly-arrived displaced Syrians.

Relief Goods not Reaching Those who Take Shelter outside Refugee Camps

Many of the displaced people are taking shelter in abandoned buildings or warehouses with several other families. The floor is either bare ground or concrete slabs. The families cover the floor with blankets and sleep, but chilly winds and rain blow in through drafty walls and leaky roofs. The situation is dire for many families as relief goods have not yet reached most of them. Without any aid, some dig into their savings to get by, while others receive food and water from local Turks. In response, AAR Japan has distributed food and basic necessities to 50 families with the cooperation of Support to Life (STL), a local partner organization. AAR is now conducting survey on demographics and whereabouts of refugee families to prepare for the next distribution.

Yuichiro Yamamoto (left) is interviewing the Borohs who crossed border from Kobane to Suruc County in Turkey (November 6th, 2014).


East Japan: Libraries for People with Disabilities

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) has been setting up libraries and providing books to facilities for people with disabilities that were struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake in the prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate. The libraries greatly help to stabilize the minds of children with disabilities who are likely to have trouble adjusting to the new environment brought about by the earthquake.

 Large-sized picture books have enriched children's emotions – Fukushima

Ever since the large-sized picture books arrived, it has become a valued time for the staff members to read books aloud to the children.  The 'picture book room' in Fukushima supported by AAR Japan.


Assistance to Syrian Refugees: “Connecting Syrians with the people of Turkey”

Escaping the Syrian civil war that has been continuing since 2011, many Syrians are crossing the border, and taking refuge in neighboring countries. The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) continues to support the Syrian refugees that have escaped into Turkey. Yoshifumi KAGEHIRA of Tokyo Headquarter reports.

Ms. Zakiye (center above) who attends the community center opened by AAR, and her four children. Sachiko KAREKI, AAR staff, to the top left of the photo. To the right is Muna Albadran, a Syrian refugee working for AAR's office in Turkey. (July 8th, 2014)


Haiti: Keep Yourself Clean, And Feel Refreshed

October 15th is Global Hand Washing Day!

In many parts of the world where AAR Japan has been actively involved, a lot of people, many of whom are children, have lost their lives to infectious diseases that could have been prevented if they had lived in Japan. This is due to a lack of safe drinking water and adequate knowledge of hygiene.

Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, there has been a large-scale outbreak of cholera, which is transmitted by unclean water. The outbreak has left the country with the highest rate of cholera-infected persons in the world. In other regions too, people have no choice but to use unclean water, for example, in the north-western part of Pakistan, where a large number of people have taken refuge from the civil war; and also in the north-eastern part of Kenya, where many people have settled because of the repeated droughts that have made their nomadic life impossible.

Besides providing these countries with wells, toilets and washrooms / washing facilities, AAR has been teaching Haitians the proper way to wash hands and the importance of using a toilet, so that hygienic habits will become part of their everyday lives.

“Where should we pee or poo?” AAR staff in Haiti asks the children in Sacre Coeur primary school, showing pictures of the toilet and hand washing facilities.  (March 25th, 2014)