May 24, 2011

110518_01Kids without Borders (KnK) Japan—one of the NPO members of Japan Platform—has been carrying out a Friendship Library project to send messages of support along with books to schools and evacuation centers in Rikuzentakata (Iwate Prefecture). In that city, the schools are beginning to reopen and construction of temporary housing is slowly moving forward. Against that backdrop, four schools that were damaged by the quake and tsunami have begun holding classes together in one school building. Space is at a premium since the library at the school is now serving as a temporary storage space for the relief supplies that have been coming in from around the country and around the world. At first, the Friendship Library project had planned to have people send books and messages directly to the schools, but now KnK is gathering those items at its Tokyo headquarters and delivering them directly to the children of Rikuzentakata.

PARCIC (Pacific Asia Resource Center Interpeoples’ Cooperation) is a Japan Platform member that focuses on cooperation in relief efforts as well as fair trade. As part of its work in the Tohoku region, this week it reported that it had delivered extension cords, hoses, and other supplies to people in the town of Ishinomaki. They noted that the number of people living on the 2nd floor of their homes has actually been increasing as people return from the shelters but still cannot use their tsunami-damaged 1st floors. The electricity is back on in this area, but can only be used on the 2nd floor, so extension cords have become a treasured item.

PARCIC also reported that as temperatures have begun to rise, more people are requesting insect repellant and other insecticides. Another weather-related concern is that the gutters have not been cleared in many places, so residents are worried about what will happen when the rainy season starts.