Flooding in west Japan: Reviving the Community Where People Can Live in Peace

Half a year has passed since Japan experienced significant rainfall particularly in western Japan in early July. Still now, 40,466 houses are totally or partially destroyed, and restoration work is unfinished (as of November 6th, 2018.  Reported by Fire and Disaster Management Agency Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters). AAR Japan has been giving support to social welfare facilities left without aid in Okayama Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture.

From the perspective of children
A social welfare service corporation named “Link” (in Kurashiki, Okayama), established in 2011, has set up a variety of multi-functional welfare facilities since. Among them is Mabi Community Support Center, which since 2014 has been offering consultation sessions for PWDs and their family members, while providing a variety of information including how to utilize the welfare system. However, due to the torrential rains that reached as high as the second floor, all the furniture and office supplies were destroyed. AAR donated desks, chairs, bookshelves and other items that are necessary for the reopening of the Center.
Mitsuru Namatame, in a briefing session on the conditions of Mabi Community Life Support Center. (November 21st, 2018)
This Center has also been offering a place where all people in the village, whether PWDs or not, can meet other citizens. When we visited the Centre in November, we saw the staff working hard to reopen the Center by putting together the desks and the bookshelves. They said, “Thanks to your support, we changed the old desks and chairs to new ones that are easier for children to use. Now, visitors find it more comfortable to come and have consultations with us.” Since there are baby chairs in the Centre, those with babies or small children are welcome to visit the Centre.
The Centre is scheduled to re-open in January 2019, so the staff are busy making preparations.
A consultation room in Mabi Community Life Support Center. Local people with small children
   are now welcome to visit this space for consultation. (November 21st, 2018)
More time to spend with the users
On September 26th and November 14th, AAR Japan donated two vehicles to an NPO named “Yasuragi” located in Yasuura District in Kure City in Hiroshima. Their facility was flooded above the ground level and the vehicles they were using for transporting the users were washed away. The director of the NPO, Ms. Kimiyo Matsushige said, “With only one small vehicle, we had to make two to three trips for transporting the users every day. It was stressful for our staff and the users. Now that you have donated a larger vehicle which can accommodate more people, we don’t have to make as many trips. We can now save a lot of time, which enables us to spend more time with the users. We are looking forward to taking our users for a hanami trip (cherry blossoms viewing).”
A vehicle for transport (to the left) and the residents in an NPO “Yasuragi”.  They are holding letters representing “Arigato (Thank you)!”  Haruko Tanaka, AAR staff, is on the right end.
In Yasuragi, it is now harvest season for lemons. The users were helping the staff with peeling out black spots and packing. One of the users commented, “When I heard that the facility was damaged by torrential rains, I was very much worried not only about the building but also the people I was working with. I was extremely happy to meet my friends after a long while.”
The users at Yasuragi welcomed us again, and I was impressed that the users at Yasuragi were very cheerful, always helping each other.
Lemons harvested by the residents in “Yasuragi”. These lemons are sold or used as the ingredients of cheesecake made in a local cafe named “YAGI.CAFE”.   (November 29, 2018)

Yasuragi runs a cafe named “YAGI.CAFE” located near the Yasuura district in Kure City.  This cafe is very famous for cheesecake. The cafe was closed for a while because they had to help clean the rooms in Yasuragi after the disaster. But it was reopened it so that local people and the customers who found the information about the cafe online would be able to visit it as soon as possible. It also made it possible for the users to start working within a few days.

If you are interested in this cafe, please access the Facebook account “YAGI.CAFE”.
The cheesecake served in “Yasuragi”, where the residents work, is very famous. (November 29, 2018)
AAR Japan will continue to give support so that PWDs and their family members can live in their community in peace and comfort.

This activity is made possible through your donations and the subsidy by Japan Platform (JPF).

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