August 15, 2011

The head of the Tohoku Office of the Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan has participated in many “cluster meetings” while providing aid abroad. These meetings are intended to promote collaboration among international agencies, national governments, local governments, and international and domestic NGOs, in order to promote holistic approaches to relief and recovery efforts. She proposed such a meeting to the Iwate Prefecture, and the plans came together on July 27. Around 40 participants convened for the first Collaboration Meeting for Volunteers for the Great East Japan Earthquake, where the various organizations reported on their activities, the challenges they were facing, and their proposals. A representative from the Kamaishi Disatster Countermeasures Office remarked that this was the first opportunity for him to get a clear picture of what organization was doing what activities where. AAR is also working to initiate a collaboration meeting in Iwate Prefecture focused specifically on helping people with disabilities.

On one day, items for 292 homes arrived all at once, making it quite a day for JEN's staff and volunteers.JEN reports that as of the end of July, it had provided supplies to 4,500 temporary housing units in Ishinomaki out of the planned 7,900 units that are being built. In order to help encourage local employment, JEN hired Ishinomaki residents to assist in the distribution efforts. One of these people, Mr. Ogata, noted, “This lets me be involved in work that helps rebuild the area where I live. I feel so happy! I’ll be even happier if this pleases the people moving into the temporary homes.” JEN’s efforts to distribute goods in Ishinomaki will continue until the last temporary housing units are completed.