Living as Evacuees – A bed lost in the tsunami, recycling wood buried in the rubble…

Almost three months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. While schools have resumed and some evacuation centers have been closed or integrated, more and more survivors are moving to temporary housing or their own homes. Staff at AAR JAPAN who have been involved in aid activities in Miyagi Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture report on the severe evacuation lifestyle and survivors who have been making their own way toward the recovery.

May 30th – Takeshi ABE delivered a water tank to Ms. CHIBA who told us that water is essential. (Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Spending one hour going to waterworks as the well was damaged by the tsunami

AAR JAPAN delivered drinking water, a water tank, and diapers to Ms. Chiba, who has been living as an evacuee in Warabino County, Motoyoshi Town, Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture. In this area residents had been using water from a well before the earthquake, but the tsunami carried seawater and heavy oil into the well, contaminating it and making the water undrinkable. Now the residents are using water from a stream for their daily lives but spend one hour going to temporary waterworks to get drinking water.

When we delivered the water tank which can hold large amount of water, Ms. Chiba was very pleased as it has been hard for her to get information about the time and date of water supply. Looking at a heap of rubble which is still untouched, Ms. Chiba said exhaustedly, “We would feel more comfortable if this rubble was removed.” (Reporter: Takeshi ABE at Sendai office)

May 27th – Explanation about a nursing care bed is given to Mr. ABE’s family. It is heavy and complicated to assemble, so they need help from an expert. (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)

Making use of wood buried in rubble to stimulate independent recovery 

Murakami Sawmill, which has been supporting the carpenters in Rikuzen-Takata City in Iwate Prefecture for a long time, is considering recycling wood buried in rubble. Doing ever more as carpenters to help in the recovery effort, they have been making wooden benches in their spare time and distributing them to temporary housing for free. They came up with this idea, hoping that the benches will be used as communication tools which will connect people living in temporary housing in the coming summer.

They have always earned their living from carpentry, so they are able to do a lot with wood, which might otherwise be wasted. The real recovery should be made by survivors themselves. AAR JAPAN will continue supporting those survivors who are looking straight ahead and making their way. (Reporter: Yuka YOKOTA at Morioka office)

May 27th – Yuka YOKOTA, AAR JAPAN (right), is interviewing Mr. KIN, a carpenter who has been sheltered at Murakami sawmill as tools for his job as well as his houses were swept away by the tsunami. (Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture)

Widen the circle of support hand in hand with local people

“Yamada Kyosei workshop” in Yamada Town in Iwate Prefecture has been a base for supply distribution to persons with disabilities and the elderly in the area; including a person with a mental disability who lives alone deep in the mountains, a person with a visual impairment whose shop and house were completely destroyed, and a 83-year-old woman who has been staying in a shed and running a shop.

Among the survivors in their own homes, in particular, it is not easy to grasp the evacuation status of persons with disabilities and the elderly. We can widen the circle of support by cooperating with people like Yamada kyosei workshop which works as a base in the area. Mr. SATO, Chief of the facility, said, “We would like to keep close contact with AAR JAPAN and cooperate to support people who have been in trouble in their houses in Yamada area.” (Reporters: Ryo OIKAWA and Teruyo MIYAGAWA at Morioka office)

May 31st – Ryo OIKAWA (right end) and Teruyo MIYAGAWA (left end) delivered foods such as vegetables and fruits to Mr. Sato, Chief of Yamada kyosei workshop. (Yamada Town, Iwate Prefecture)

(Reporters: Ryo OIKAWA and Teruyo MIYAGAWA at Morioka office)