Emergency Relief Reaches 50 Persons with Disabilities

AAR Relief Team Enters Southern Miyagi
Association for Aid and Relief, JAPAN (AAR JAPAN) has sent an emergency relief team of six members to the northern part of Japan, paralyzed by the Earthquake.
On March 16, the team delivered emergency relief items to the inmates of Seiwa-en, a welfare facility for the persons with disabilities, located in a town of Yamamoto in the southernmost part of Miyagi Prefecture.
Ryo YAMAURA, an AAR JAPAN staff member from Sendai, Miyagi, reports from the disaster-stricken area.

Hometown in Devastation
“We took highway from Sendai City, where AAR JAPAN operates from, to Yamamoto. The highway runs parallel to the coastline, about 5km inland. On the coastal side of the road, I could still see a huge body of water left by the Tsunami, with the wreckage of vehicles floating here and there. Some parts of water remained even on the mountain side of the highway to attest to the level of damages inflicted by the tidal wave.
Tsunami bulled through this house in a town of Yamamoto.

Even for me, a native of Sendai City, this Tsunami is simply beyond the wildest imagination. All I can do at this moment is to merely pray for the safety of my friends who live along the coastline.

Relief Arrives in the Nick of Time
“When we got to Seiwa-en, they were on the verge of running out of their normal stock of food good for three days. 50 inmates and 7 staff members had no clear idea of what to do next. Seeing their plight, the team immediately unloaded food, water, sanitary goods and hand warmers into the building.
Shuichi ISHIBASHI of AAR JAPAN (in red jacket) greets a member of Seiwa-en.

Ms. Yukiko MONMA, President of Seiwa-en, leads the entire crew even after the quake, despite the fact that her own house was swept away by the Tsunami. She repeatedly expressed her sincere gratitude to all of us.”

Lights of Hope Relit
“It was when we were about to finish moving items into the facility that lights came back on at Seiwa-en for the first time in six days after the tremor. Someone cried “Emergency lights are on!” and the sense of joy quickly spread among the inmates and staff members. Some were hugging each other with tears in their eyes. It is hard to imagine how much inconvenience and anxiety they have had to put up with. They should have many more problems to overcome. Nonetheless they saw us off saying “It was a really good day today. Electricity has returned. People like you came with things we needed. You really saved us all.” Her words renewed my desire to reach those who need help as swiftly as possible.
Seiwa-en crew celebrates the return of electricity.

Fulfilling a Share of Work
“On our way back to Sendai, we came across a number of workers on the road removing the debris. There were number of trucks and many road construction sites working around the clock. Many people are fulfilling their duties, giving more than 100%. We, the AAR JAPAN Emergency Relief Team, will also move on for the people who are still waiting for the helping hands to reach them. Considering the magnitude of the damages, AAR JAPAN still needs much more assistance. All the members of the team would like to appeal strongly for continuous, generous contributions from our supporters.”

Representative of AAR JAPAN Kadgli office, Northern Sudan since January 2009. After graduating university, he joined the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and was assigned to Uganda as an elementary school teacher. After spending a year in Uganda, he joined AAR JAPAN. (born in Miyagi, Japan) .