Great East Japan Earthquake: Organizations that Support Voluntary Evacuees

6,000 Evacuees Live in Tokyo

Even though 6 years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, there remain approximately 109,000 individuals requiring assistance, who evacuated their home town as a result of the impact of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Of these, approximately 6,000 evacuees live in Tokyo (Reconstruction Agency, April 28, 2017). AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief) has been providing various forms of aid since immediately after the earthquake hit, and recently partnered with Musashino Smile, to begin providing aid to the evacuees who reside in Tokyo. Musashino Smile is an organization represented by Ms. Megumi Okada (picture below), an evacuee who fled from Fukushima city to Tokyo with her children, and is supported by various Tokyo-resident volunteers. On April 28, Musashino Smile hosted a “Yoransho Salon,” an event to encourage evacuees to visit and engage in light conversations over tea (picture to the right). “Yoransho” is a word from Fukushima that means “please stop by.” 16 evacuees from Fukushima and other areas participated in the event to exchange information and share updates.

Yoransho Salon was held at Musashino city, an evacuation destination for many evacuees. Yoransho Salon occurs once a month. (April 28th, 2017)


Zambia: Supporting the New Life of “Former Refugees”

AAR Japan has conducted relief activities in Zambia since 1984, for 33 years, when a widespread famine in Africa attracted worldwide attention. At the beginning, its support activities in medical, educational, agricultural and other fields were based in Meheba in the North-Western Province where many Angolan refugees sought shelter after fleeing the civil war in their home country. After many refugees returned home following the end of the Angolan Civil War in 2002, AAR Japan moved the base of its subsequent activities to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia and its environs. Since then, it has provided assistance to people who have tested positive for HIV/AIDS, as the issue became a serious problem at that time, and strengthened health services for mothers and children in farming villages where people have little or no access to medical services.

In March 2017, AAR Japan reopened its office in Meheba and launched activities to assist the joint efforts to build a community by the citizens of Zambia and “former refugees” from Angola who decided to settle in Zambia rather than returning to their home country.
Atsushi NAOE of AAR Japan visits households in the site (April 2017)