AAR JAPAN Reaches Out to The Helpless

Relief Items Delivered at Six More Locations

On March 22, AAR JAPAN’s Emergency Relief Team visited six locations and facilities in three cities in Miyagi Prefecture, namely Sendai, Ishinomaki and Higashi-Matsushima.  Rice, oranges and canned foods were delivered along with underwear, sanitary items for ladies, etc.  The Team also had a meeting with various organizations to discuss what can be done from now to support persons with disabilities affected by the disaster.
Rice, oranges and milk were distributed to Izumi-no-Sato, a welfare facility for the elderly people in Higashi-Matsushima City (left, Sopana HAGIWARA of AAR JAPAN)

The list of the beneficiaries on March 22 includes:

Sendai City
-Care Plan Center SLL (Welfare organization for the aged, 60 inmates)

Higashi-Matsushima City
-Izumi-no-Sato (Welfare organization for the aged)
-No.2 Kyosei-en Annex (Welfare facility for persons with disabilities)

Ishinomaki City
-Negishi Townhall (Refuge center, 120 survivors)
-Kiwa community (Citizens staying at home, 300 survivors)
-Gymnasium “Big Bang” (Refuge center, 600 survivors)

Responding to Direct Emergency Calls

Care Plan Center SLL in Sendai is a welfare organization assisting the elderly and persons with disabilities who have chosen to live by themselves in a local community.  After the Quake, they have helped out such people as the elderly, persons with disabilities, families with infants, etc., for whom moving to a nearby refuge site was not a possible option.  The Center was at a loss without public support, and co-operations from individuals were not enough to keep their activity going.  Someone picked up a phone and called directly the Headquarters of AAR JAPAN in Tokyo to appeal for our intervention.
AAR JAPAN's Relief Team listens to explanation from a staff member of Care Plan Center SLL in Sendai City.  The Center assists approximately 60 survivors including the aged and persons with disabilities who cannot move to a refuge place (from left, Sopana HAGIWARA, Shuichi ISHIBASHI and Yoshihiko SHIBATA of AAR JAPAN).

The AAR JAPAN Emergency Relief Team was immediately instructed to bring food items to the Center, including rice, canned foods and some seasoning.

AAR JAPAN normally communicates with the Prefectural Emergency Headquarters, a section responsible for welfare services in a municipal office, or local Council for Social Welfare (CSW), to coordinate its relief operations.  However, we sometimes do receive SOS signals directly from survivors themselves, or their family and friends.

These people are often isolated, and filled with despair as their stock of food gets smaller each day.  Despite having lost everything just like other people, there are those who remain out of the coverage of public support and have absolutely nowhere to turn to.
Reacting to these emergency calls, AAR JAPAN’s Relief Team is trying as much as possible to meet the person directly on the spot to confirm the difficulty and urgency of the situation, before actually handing out the relief items.

AAR JAPAN alone cannot save everybody, but we are determined to seek and reach out to people like the aged or persons with disabilities, who are often slow to come into the scope of the disaster relief, and are easily overlooked by big organizations.