Torrential rain in Kyushu: Providing supplies to welfare facilities for PWD

The torrential rains in Kyushu in early July caused extensive damage in Kumamoto Prefecture and various areas in Japan, and restoration work is still ongoing in the affected areas. We pray for the souls of the deceased and express our heartfelt sympathy for those who were affected by the disaster. 

Sayako Nogiwa and Kazuya Omuro from AAR Japan checking the damage 
during a visit to the social welfare facility (July 11,2020)

To restore the damaged facilities 

Immediately after the disaster, AAR in cooperation with other nonprofit organizations, Peace Project, organized a soup kitchen at an evacuation shelter in Kumamoto Prefecture and has been providing emergency supplies to the welfare facilities for persons with disabilities in the affected areas. One such facility, "Workshop Hinatabokko" (Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture), provides a place of work for people with physical, intellectual, developmental, and mental disabilities, where 17 users made and sold udon noodles. The udon shop served a variety type of udon dishes, including udon noodles made with foxgloves, tempura udon, udon noodles with meat, and seafood salad udon. 

Following the delivery of industrial-strength fans and other emergency relief supplies to Hinatabokko in July, AAR provided a commercial refrigerator and ice machine in mid-August. Shogo Yamanaka, the office manager, said, "We are now able to partially reopen our udon shop. AAR provided all the necessary support promptly and was attentive to our feelings, which helped us in both the operational and mental aspects of the project. We are very grateful for their support."

Work to repair the broken block wall and users whose homes were damaged have settled in new houses. The restoration work is steadily progressing.

Commercial refrigerator provided by AAR (Aug. 18)

Also, the social welfare corporation "White Canvas Welfare Association" (Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture), which was commissioned to make "sarori" weaving and pack bags for the persons with intellectual disabilities as a place for their active social participation, had to scrap two of its vehicles and a rental car due to flooding. Arrangements are being made to provide one vehicle.

To get back to normal life as soon as possible.

In the event of a major disaster, AAR gives priority to welfare facilities and organizations for persons with disabilities that are not easily reached by the government aid to provide supplies and help repair. At the same time, we are making efforts to deliver the voices of disaster victims to the government so that the government will be able to provide the support that it should be responsible for. Also, we have formulated the Guidelines for Domestic Emergency Assistance under the Influence of COVID-19 and are continuing to provide emergency assistance while taking thorough measures to prevent infection.

Many people in the affected areas have been looking forward to the reopening of welfare facilities. AAR will continue to support the people in the affected areas to get back to normal life as soon as possible.

*This effort is made possible by donations and a grant from JPF (Japan Platform). 

Sayako NOGIWA, AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters

After joining AAR Japan in 2005, NOGIWA worked at its Tokyo Headquarters,
engaged in activities for the Asia region, including Myanmar.  She has
concurrently been an officer of JANNET (Japan NGO Network on Disabilities),
since 2009, and a Director of the Asia and Pacific CBR Network North Asia,
since 2015.  NOGIWA has served as a planning committee member of the Japan
Council on Disability (JD) since 2016, becoming a member of its Board of
Directors in May 2019.  She is from the Tokyo prefecture.

Japanese-English translation by Yui Hirade