AAR JAPAN Provides Buses to Hospitals and Schools

AAR JAPAN Operates Regular Bus Services for Residents

AAR JAPAN has been supporting the operation of regular bus services in the Oshika Peninsula, an isolated region of Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. AAR-supported buses are operating in Ogihama Ward, which lies at the entry to the peninsula, and Ayukawa Ward in the south.

Prefectural Road No. 2 cuts through the Oshika Peninsula, forming a thoroughfare to hospitals and shopping centers in Ishinomaki’s city center. Regular bus services once ran along the prefectural road, with mid-sized buses connecting residential areas to the main line. However, roads leading to the prefectural road have cracked or subsided due to the March 11th earthquake, making it impossible to operate mid-sized buses. With so many cars swept away by the tsunami, it is now difficult for people in Ogihama Ward and Ayukawa Ward to go to the hospital, go shopping, or go to school.

April 26th – A road along the sea in Ogihama Ward. Side roads connecting to Prefectural Road No. 2 are still so narrow that only one car can go through. (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)

“I Went to the City for the First Time since the Earthquake”

In cooperation with Miyakou Bus Co., Ltd. and Oshika Public Service, AAR JAPAN started operating regular buses on April 10th, using 10-seater mini-buses that are capable of navigating the narrowed roads. Services have been provided twice a day, with two buses operating in Ogihama Ward and one bus in Ayukawa Ward. All services are provided for free, with the beginning of operation announced by radio and at evacuation centers.

In Ogihama Ward, buses run from the peninsula’s Fukiura area to the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the city center. The trip takes one and a half hours, with two round-trips provided daily. On the way, the bus also stops at convenient locations such as elementary schools, junior high schools and shopping centers, as well as at Ishinomaki Station.

Speaking with watery eyes, a 75-year-old woman who used the bus told us, “I hadn’t been able to go to the city center since the earthquake. When I heard about the bus service on the radio, I was overjoyed.”

At the southern end of the peninsula in Ayukawa Ward, mini-buses travel in and out of the ward’s residential areas to bring people to the bus stop on Prefectural Road No. 2. As more and more people return to their homes from evacuation centers, buses accessible to individual residences are increasingly important, particularly as many elderly people live in the area.

In addition to normal twice-daily services, the mini-buses are also used as school buses. AAR JAPAN will continue to provide bus services to enable people in the affected areas to get back to their regular lives as quickly as possible.

April 26th – Children getting on the mini-bus to go home from Higashihama Elementary School. Classes resumed on April 21st. (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)

April 11th – Residents have constructed a hand-made sign for the bus stop. (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Moeko NAGAI: Emergency Relief Team (Nurse and Medical Officer)
Worked in a hospital for three years after graduation from university.
After studying in the United States for one year, she worked as a kindergarten nurse for two years.