April 8, 2011

Two boys hold up a sign made from a cardboard box that reads, "Thank you, from all of us at the Utatsu Evacuation Center."

JEN is calling for volunteers to help in the effort to help in the sludge removal efforts, to distribute cleanup kits (rubber gloves, rubber boots, masks, shovels, buckets, etc.), and to prepare warm meals as it continues to assist and survey the conditions around Sendai and Ishinomaki. JEN’s secretary-general writes touchingly of the emotional toll the disaster has taken. He notes that however difficult it might be for him and other volunteers to visit these devastated areas, it is nothing compared to the accounts he has heard from survivors: parents who have lost all three of their children at once, people who cannot forget the voices calling out for help from the roof tops of houses being swept away, and so many others.

AAR Japan posted a progress report on what it has accomplished to date (as of 4/7): AAR teams (30 people in total) have provided relief to roughly 170 locations in Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima, and Yamagata Prefectures, reaching more than 20,000 people. In cooperation with the prefectural authorities, AAR has targeted places such as evacuation centers that have not received much aid yet, facilities for the elderly and disabled, those who are taking refuge in places other than evacuation centers, remote islands, and elsewhere. The items they have delivered include: 13,600 liters of diesel oil, 4,400 liters of kerosene, 2,060 liters of gasoline, 13 tons of water, 2 tons of rice, 2 tons of tangerines and bananas, 480 packs of milk, 1,000 blankets, 25,000 items of clothing, 53,000 towels, 3,400 sleeping bags, 5,000 hand warmers, 10,000 toothbrushes, 60,000 diapers, 30 chain saws, 30 pressure washers, 100 pairs of rubber boots, 20 boxes of children’s books, 200 boxes of crayons, 6 computers, 120 cell phones, and much more.

Peace Winds Japan also posted a progress report on its work through the end of March. The key achievements include:

  • Distribution of relief goods in Kesennuma, Minamisanriku, Rikuzentakata, and Ofunato: 30 truckloads of goods bought by PWJ or donated items were delivered to evacuation centers and local government collection centers. They included bread, rice, chips, fruit, water, coffee, etc.; 100 heaters, 4,500 liters of kerosene, 1,360 blankets, 600 comforters, mattresses; sanitary items including 200,000 masks, 2,000 wipes, sanitary pads, portable toilets, tissues, etc.; clothing; large tents, tarps, portable gas stoves, paper plates, etc.
  • Provision of communication services: With phone lines cut off or congested, PWJ offered evacuees the use of its satellite phones for several days so that they could contact loved ones and confirm whether their loved ones were safe. They also provided mobile charging services.
  • Construction of a temporary bath