Improving Sanitary Conditions in Evacuation Centers

Flies, Mosquitoes, Dust and Ticks Pose Risk to Evacuees’ Health

 AAR JAPAN staff Mizuho SEKII (left) puts covers on a newly-arrived futon (Japanese blanket) at an elementary school being used as evacuation center

AAR JAPAN is carrying out sanitization projects for approximately 1000 victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake living in evacuation centers in Ishinomaki City and Minami-Sanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

Rising temperatures and humidity have led to a deterioration in sanitary conditions at evacuation centers. At locations surveyed by AAR JAPAN, blankets and mattresses distributed after the earthquake were getting dirtier, and some had even developed mold and ticks due to long use without being washed or aired. The great numbers of flies and mosquitoes that have bred in the areas surrounding the evacuation centers have had a further negative effect on sanitary conditions.

Asthmatic evacuees have suffered due to the increase in household dust and ticks brought about by the impossibility of regular cleaning and laundering. In addition, evacuees with eczema and skin allergies have been facing aggravated symptoms due to ticks and excessive perspiration in the summer heat.

Cleaning dirt and the dust at an evacuation center.

To reduce the health hazard, AAR JAPAN has been changing bedclothes, airing out futons, carrying out general cleaning, and handing out blanket dryers, vacuum cleaners, electrical fans, dehumidifiers, cleaning tools, fly paper, and insecticides, as well as giving instructions on their use. We collected all the old dirty blankets, and are delivering new cotton blankets and other bedclothes for summer use. To prevent food poisoning, we are also delivering refrigerators to evacuation centers in need of one. We visited a total of 16 locations between June 14th and July 6th.

AAR JAPAN will continue to carry out relief efforts to improve the sanitary conditions of people struggling to live in evacuation centers.

Erika Saitoh, Sendai Office
Has been working at medical assistance projects in AAR JAPAN’s Sendai Office since April 2011