South Sudan: World Refugee Day on June 20- Supporting the people of South Sudan

AAR Japan currently supports Syrian refugees in Turkey, Afghan refugees in Pakistan and South Sudanese refugees in Kenya. AAR Japan’s Ryo KAKUTANI, who was stationed in South Sudan for four years until 2013, reports on its assistance to South Sudanese refugees.

Thrust into a civil war just two years after independence

“I deeply regret that I have to be here today,” were my first words when I spoke in July 2014 at the opening ceremony of a school that was built by AAR Japan inside Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Since 2006, AAR Japan has carried out projects – setting up wells and water supply facilities and offering hygiene and sanitation education – in Kapoeta in the Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan (southern Sudan at the time), near the border with Kenya. South Sudan successfully gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but a civil war broke out again in December 2013, displacing some two million people, or about one fifth of the population. Approximately 500,000 citizens fled to neighboring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya as refugees. The school AAR Japan set up inside Kakuma Refugee Camp was designed for children who had escaped from the conflict in South Sudan.
Family who managed to reach the refugee camp being overwhelmed by intense heat and fatigue (Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, February 4th, 2014)


Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors -No Time Should be Lost in Restoring Schools where Children can Safely Learn

Schools reopened, but…

Following the major earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th, AAR Japan’s emergency response team has been involved in relief efforts in Tasarpu Village, in the mountainous Dhading District.  We have distributed food, tent materials and daily necessities to 1,299 families in the village from May 9th to 21st. We are now focusing our efforts on the assessment for the construction of temporary learning centers in the neighboring villages of Tahkre and Jeewanpur as well as in Tasarpu.

For about a month after the earthquake, all the schools in the disaster-stricken areas were closed. Some schools reopened on May 31st. During the school closure, engineers from the Educational Bureau of Dhading District assessed the safety of the school buildings in the district, marking buildings at risk of collapsing in red and ones deemed safe in green. In Tasarpu Village, where we delivered relief goods, there are 11 schools. Forty-five classrooms in seven out of 11 schools were marked red. Fifty-three classrooms in seven of ten schools in Tahkre Village and 52 classrooms in ten of 11 schools in Jeewanpur Village were also assessed to be dangerous. The local government has not announced any specific policies on how to deal with the classrooms labeled dangerous. Because of this lack of policy information, some schools continue using the classrooms marked red while others refrain from using them.

A highly dangerous school building with shear cracking visible on the entire surface of walls (A school in the 2nd Ward of Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, June 1st, 2015).


Japan: Giving Talks in Public Talk Series in Kumamoto, Fukuoka, and Matsue

What can the Japanese do in response to the crisis in Syria?

From May 20th until May 23rd, AAR Japan held a public talk series held in book stores in Kumamoto, Fukuoka, and Matsue. The title of this series was, "The Japanese, Syrian Refugees, and Islam - Photojournalist x Humanitarian Aid." AAR Japan's Yoshifumi KAGEHIRA gave a talk at the event. This event was held to commemorate the publication of photojournalist Yoshifumi KAWABATA's book; it was made possible by the cooperation of KAWABATA, Shinhyoron Co., Ltd. (the publisher of his book), and all the book stores that served as the venues.

Nagasaki Book Store is Kumamoto's vintage book store. The participants listened attentively to Syria's complicated circumstances, as well as the harsh conditions that the refugees face. (May 20th, 2015)


Vanuatu: Medical Treatment to Villages on Remote Islands Three Months After Cyclone Pam

Vanuatu, a South Pacific island country, was struck by a great cyclone on the 13th and 14th of March. The impact was catastrophic; as many as 166,000 people or more – over half the total population – were affected. AAR Japan reached the disaster-stricken area four days after the disaster and distributed relief goods such as clothing and household items to a total of 306 households (approximately 1,530 people) in villages on the eastern part of Efate Island, where the capital city, Port Vila, is located. We are currently providing medical assistance through a local partner, VFHA (Vanuatu Family Health Association). Ryo KAKUTANI from AAR Tokyo Office, who was dispatched to Vanuatu in May, reports.

In March and April, AAR Japan distributed emergency goods such as clothing and kitchen utensils on Efate Island. Ryo KAKUTANI from AAR Japan is pictured on the right. (April 2nd, 2015)


Nepal: Emergency Assistance to Earthquake Survivors - One Month After - Refugee Life in a Mountain Village

A space to spend nights together as a family

The AAR Japan emergency response team’s activities continue in the village of Tasarpu, in the mountainous Dhading District.  From May 9th to 21st, the team has been distributing food rations and household utensils to the 1,299 family units in the village.  The food rations include rice, dahl beans, salt, cooking oil, masala, and turmeric.  The household utensils include tent materials (a 3.6x5.5m tarpaulin, 30m of rope to build the tent with, floor mats, mosquito net, blankets, feminine sanitary napkins, and buckets.

After distribution of the relief items was complete, the team revisited each ward of Tasarpu Village and saw that inhabitants of the area are making full use of the tent materials, and families now have a place where they can spend the nights together.  Directly following the disaster, Suun Maya Tamang, a resident of Tasarpu village’s 4th ward, was able to procure no more than a small vinyl sheet she found, so she and her family had to sleep in various different refugee tents.  With only 5kg of government supplied rice and no other aid in sight, Suun says she was at her wit’s end. With the materials she received from AAR Japan, her family of 10 can now live out of one tent.  “Up in the mountains the days are hot and the nights grow very cold, so I am very thankful for the support we received from AAR Japan.  The blankets are especially important for us”, she said.
Suun and her daughter, standing before the tent they built with the relief items from AAR Japan. (Tasarpu Village, Dhading District, May 27th, 2015)