The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) reported this week on a quickly growing problem of homelessness among the victims the earthquake. According to an NPO in Sendai, there are now roughly 100 earthquake victims who are on the streets in that city alone. A number of them are people who came to Sendai from other areas of Tohoku for reconstruction projects but were subsequently let go, or those who lost their jobs as a result of the earthquake and were unable to pay the utility bills in the temporary housing units and so had to leave. The NPO in Sendai has been making evening rounds to check on the homeless, offering them hot food once a week, but they did not have enough food or clothing and hand warmers to keep people warm. AMDA learned of this situation from a temple in Okayama (AMDA’s headquarters are in Okayama) and contacted a number of groups and companies to help out. Supplies were quickly shipped out on a 4-ton truck, and at the end of this week (1/28), AMDA staff will start serving hot meals for the homeless. This project is expected to continue through the middle of April.
The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) has continued to aid the elderly and disabled victims of the earthquake. In preparation for the cold days ahead, they have been distributing heaters, snow shovels, and snow blowers to those in government-rented temporary housing. They are also continuing to find ways to encourage interaction between those with disabilities who are likely to become isolated during the cold weather.