The sludge all over the kindergarten facility
“Can you help us...?” We received a phone call from a kindergarten in Fukushima.
This kindergarten is located in Soma city, which is one of the worst-hit places by Typhoon Hagibis. AAR Japan had worked with this kindergarten before , when 3.11 / Great East Japan Earthquake happened, to assist their recovery. This kindergarten has 140 children, from age 0 to 6.
They were affected by Typhoon Hagibis because the nearby river got flooded. They told us the water went above floor and the sludge was all over the place. Although they cleaned up and reopened two weeks after the typhoon, they were unable to get sanitation items from the local government nor purchase them anywhere near them. With no way of ensuring the hygienic standard for their children, they gave us a call asking for our help.
We went to see the situation right after the call and first gave them disinfecting spray, anti-norovirus antiseptic and medicated gargle/mouthwash. There was strong smell still lingering so we gave them disinfectant deodorants.
|The children opened the box and showed us big smile.(23 Oct./Soma city, Fukushima)|
“We had items such as children's medical masks and water prepared for a disaster, but we didn't have sanitizers and we couldn't buy them anywhere. I was glad that we received help from AAR.” Said Mr. Nobutomo Wada, the head of the kindergarten. It seemed that He was relieved but at the same time, he also said “I didn't expect to be in a situation like this again many years after 3.11 / the Great East Japan Earthquake ...”
Currently the water is back and the kindergarten is open, but they still face so many difficulties. They can’t get enough ingredients for school meals because the local stores are not fully functioning. And the sludge is still under the floor.
Hygiene issues and Risk of infectious diseases
In Fukushima Prefecture, 30 people have been confirmed dead, the highest number of all prefectures. Over 16,000 homes got severely damaged.(including complete/half destruction and flooding.) Currently, 1,525 people are still at the evacuation facilities. Power and water outages, road closures, and railway suspensions still continue in some areas. (announced on 31 Oct., by the Cabinet Office Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters)
“Himawari-no-ie”(House of sunflower) is a welfare facility for persons with disability in Soma city which was also affected by the typhoon Hagibis. When we visited them few days after the typhoon, everyone was taking the mud out of the facility and lining up the ruined furniture and equipment outdoors. After the water got back and running, they were finally able to clean them with water. When we visited Soma City on 23 Oct., we were relieved to see people with somewhat more relaxed expressions than last week.
On the other hand, we are also facing new problems, Infectious disease. As soon as I entered Soma City this time, my nose got irritated and my throat became a little painful. Dust seems to be in the air because the muddy water has dried.
We provided “Himawari-no-ie ” hygiene products such as disinfecting spray. “The air got really dusty after the sludge got dried and I was worried about hygiene.” said Ms. Rie Kanno the facility manager. At the time of disaster, the risk of infectious diseases is severely increased, because of bacteria contaminated mud/sludge, water outage and large spread of influenza and norovirus due to group life in evacuation facilities.
|AAR staff Asano Takeji handing out hygiene products to Ms. Rie Kanno, the facility manager of “Himawari-no-ie ”. (23 Oct./Soma city, Fukushima)|
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