The Great East Japan Earthquake: “It’s All About Folk Songs” Entertainer Nekohachi EDOYA and Singers Conducted Performance Tours in Fukushima

Following Miyagi and Iwate, folk song performance tours were conducted in Fukushima

Entertainer Nekohachi EDOYA IV, who is well-known for his performance of mimicking animals and folk song singers, went on performance tours, in order to cheer up the people in the disaster-stricken areas. So far, along with AAR, they have visited Iwate Prefecture in December 2012, Miyagi Prefecture in January 2013, and temporary housing complexes and community centers in Fukushima Prefecture in February and June 2013. Moreover, in October and November 2013, they visited the inland parts of Fukushima Prefecture so as to encourage those who were away from their hometowns, influenced by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.
23rd October 2013 - Nekohachi EDOYA (front left) and others held folk song performances, visiting 4 or 5 venues a day. (Minami1-choume Temporary Housing, Fukushima)


Emergency Assistance to the Philippine Typhoon: Providing Assistance to Rebuild Damaged Houses


We have distributed galvanized iron sheets, plywood, and carpentry tools to families with elderly persons and/or persons with disabilities.

Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) that struck the Philippines on November 8th, 2013, has caused tremendous damage. According to the Philippine government as of December 16th the death toll rose to 6,069, and 1,779 are still missing. More than 1.14 million houses were damaged
AAR dispatched two staff members to the affected area on November 14th, and has implemented emergency assistance. On December 14th and 15th, we distributed galvanized iron sheets and tools for repairing their houses to 57 families with elderly persons or persons with disabilities in San Remigio, in the northern part of Cebu. And now they are going to rebuild their houses with the help of their family members and neighbors.
Norihiro FUJIMOTO of AAR (right), hands over plywood (San Regimio, Cebu, December 14th, 2013)

Distributed materials (per family):
6 galvanized iron sheets, 6 pieces of plywood, 1 1/2 kilograms nails, 1 hammer, 1 saw.

The woman (in the center) has received the materials for repairing her house. The persons in black T-shirts are staff members of a cooperating organization, GVSP (December 14th, 2013)
A set of relief materials distributed this time. Plywood for walls, galvanized iron sheets for roofs, nails, and carpentry tools (December 14th, 2013)

Carrying plywood and galvanized iron sheets, stepping over the fallen utility pole. (December 14th, 2013)

“My house full of memories had been blown away”

Rolando ALMENDRAS (48-years-old), living in San Remigio, has been suffering from a disability in his legs due to polio since he was two-years-old. His house was partially destroyed by the typhoon. His wheelchair is so heavy that he can’t wheel it without his brother’s help.
When typhoon No.30 hit the area, Rolando was evacuated to a day care facility in his village. He said that after the typhoon had gone, his house full of memories had been blown away. He was in deep sorrow and felt unfocused anger. While his brother was repairing his house so that he could manage to live in it, Rolando stayed at the day care facility for two weeks.

When Rolando received relief materials from AAR, he firmly grasped my hand and said, “ We have received food supplies so far but this is the first time to receive materials such as galvanized iron sheets. Thanks for these materials, my house will not be soaked by the rain any more. Thank you very much indeed.”

Rolando (left) firmly grasped my hand and showed his gratefulness. His present residence stands just by stretching a plastic sheet over bamboo poles. Norihiro FUJIMOTO of AAR (right). (December 14th, 2013)

“Now I can make the first step forward.”

Mariella QUINAPONDA (45-years-old), living in Luyan district in San Regimio, had lived in a plain wooden house with her 15-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son, who has congenital disabilities in his eyes and legs. While the typhoon was in the district, she was evacuated to her sister’s house nearby. When the storm had weakened, she went outside and found that her house had been completely destroyed. She said that she had been in deep grief and at a loss regarding what to do next for a long time.
Now she is thinking of trying to rebuild her house with her children. She said, looking straight in my eyes, “Materials such as galvanized iron sheets and plywood are very useful to rebuild my house. Now I can make the first step forward. Thank you so much.”

Mariella and her children tell Norihiro FUJIMOTO of AAR (left) what happened to them at the time of the typhoon. She tells him that her house was standing left behind of the picture, but there isn’t a trace of it. (December 14th, 2013)

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Maria PRECIOSA (50 years old, female) is visually impaired. She has lost her house by the typhoon and now she lives in a very small hut. Her sister is going to rebuild her house with the materials distributed by AAR. (December 14th, 2013)
[Reported by]
Norihiro FUJIMOTO, AAR Tokyo Headquarters Office.
Since November 2011, he has taken charge of projects in South Sudan and Tohoku at AAR Tokyo office. After three and a half years working in a private company, he had studied in New Zealand for six months. He worked for a human resources consulting firm afterwards, and joined AAR, hoping to contribute to people through work. He was involved in reconstruction assistance for the earthquake in Turkey (2012).


Zambia: “Providing Medical Treatment under a Privacy-Protected Environment” - New Medical Facilities for HIV/AIDS Patients

The spread of AIDS is serious in Zambia. AIDS was believed to have been a fatal disease before, but nowadays antiretroviral (ARV) medicine is available, which can control the development and aggravation of the symptoms provided that the medicine is taken religiously everyday.  However, many HIV-positive people and AIDS patients discontinue taking ARV medicine for if they are unwilling to disclose their status to their neighbors, or they wait before going to hospital with the false understanding that they are still healthy. With the goal of encouraging such people to take their medicine appropriately, AAR Japan has been training volunteers for ART (antiretroviral therapy) support and establishing medical facilities in various communities.

At Mount Makulu Clinic and Nangongwe Clinic in Lusaka Province, AAR Japan built ART Centers, where patients in need of medical treatment through antiretroviral medicine can consult a specialist under the privacy-protected environment. Yuki SAKURAI of AAR Japan residing in Zambia since October, 2013 reports:

100 People Participated in the Handover Ceremony of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centers
A ceremony to handover the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centers to the Health Department of Zambia was held on November 8, in which about 100 persons participated, including officials of the government of Zambia, doctors and nurses of the clinic, ART Support Project volunteers who work with AAR Japan, as well as local media and people from the communities. The ceremony started with welcome remarks by Chilanga District Commissioner, Edith MUWANA, followed by a presentation by Hiromi KAWANO, County Director of AAR Japan in Zambia, who discussed the past 30 years of AAR Japan’s activities in Zambia and the current state of its ongoing programs. The ART Support Project volunteers who are actively engaged in the project at Mount Makulu and Nangongwe were introduced to the participants.

AAR Japan’s Country Director in Zambia, Hiromi KAWANO, reported its activities in Zambia to the participants. (November 8th, 2013)


The Great East Japan Earthquake: Preview of the Latest Studio Ghibli Film "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" in Soma

On November 22nd 2013, Association for Aid and Relief (AAR Japan) and non-governmental organization, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) held an advance screening of The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the latest film produced by Studio Ghibli Inc. at the City Welfare Center Hamanasu-kan (Soma, Fukushima) in cooperation with the distributors, Toho Co., Ltd. and Toho-Ad Co. Ltd.

People arrived 2 hours early to get in line for the preview of The Tale of Princess Kaguya. AAR staff Takeji ASANO (right) and Ekuko YOKOYAMA (second from left) check admission tickets. (Soma, Fukushima, November 22nd, 2013)