We provide assistance toward the reconstruction of Tohoku district, devastated by the quake and the following Tsunami on March 11, 2011.Many volunteer students of Tohoku University have joined us in this noble cause. Also, HARU have received official recognition from Tohoku University so that we are able to promote volunteer activities to meet community needs. In the future, we are switching our work to the long-term reconstruction with broad range of cooperation.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
I’m a member of publication section of HARU. I have been engaged in volunteer activities at Yamamoto-chou in Miyagi Prefecture over 3 weeks. Today, I’d like to introduce reception assignment jobs at the volunteer center for people applying volunteer activities in Yamamoto-chou.
This volunteer center, set by Yamamoto-chou Social Welfare Council, serves as a base for the recovery support activities. It is located in a tent set in front of an administration building of the social welfare council. We accept individuals or groups of applicants for volunteer activities, and accept demands of affected people living in this town. We also work on distribution of lime hydrate and antiseptic to disinfect houses, etc.
Among the town residents who need relief support, there are many people who lost their families or relatives. I talked with a woman who had lost her husband and was left alone. She stood petrified with her eyes turned red and swollen as if after crying.
People who want to attend to their needs and take part in volunteer activities come to our reception at first, and are assigned tasks. Then they change into working clothes and prepare equipments. Before starting activities, they are given bibs with the town’s name “Yamamoto-chou” and arm badges. They always wear them while working. Big numbers are registered at the volunteer center so that the center could confirm the condition of every volunteer such as whether they are injured or not after the activities. Volunteers’ works are sorting relief supplies, cleaning individual houses, support farmland maintenance, and so on.
Only around Yamamoto-chou, people can listen to a local FM broadcast “Ringo (apple) Radio”. When we are on duty at the reception, we often hear the broadcast from a radio on the reception desk. In this radio broadcast, a host reads out names of missing people very often in a day and call for listeners “If you have any information, please give us”. On the coastal area, search for missing persons is continued. Such places are designated as Restricted Area, where no vehicle is permitted to enter.
When we stepped into a local government office, the first things we can see are the letters of “Information on Missing Persons”, “Death Registration”, Evacuee List”, and “Second Evacuation Place Notification”. When we face with such situations, we strongly feel that it isn’t a moment of recovery yet.
We meet a lot of people in various situations at the reception. , In communication with them, we sometime have mixed feelings. Because relief supplies from individuals need sorting tasks or sometimes may cause confusion in the affected area, they are not accepted. Yet, a certain volunteer said “Return my supplies! If you don’t appreciate them!” and brought back all the supplies he had brought. Actually, one’s benevolence is appreciated, but when one is engaged in volunteer activities, the benevolence might turn to be nuisance, if one does not think of the situation of affected area. We sometimes see arguments between affected people and volunteers.
Present situation of affected areas makes us feel mixed up. However, we could feel passion through a lot of applicants from every region in Japan who have ambition to recover Tohoku district. During a long vacation in May, the number of general volunteer was dramatically increased. The number of volunteers in Yamamoto-chou had been approximately 40 before the long vacation began; thereafter it rose to 160-200 at once. It was such a large number as to make the council staffs feel difficulty in adjusting assignments for volunteers. We saw volunteers from Ibaraki prefecture, Saitama prefecture in Kanto, in addition, Osaka prefecture, Hyogo prefecture, and Hiroshima prefecture in South Japan. Particularly we were surprised to know that one of them came from Israel, and felt very encouraged to know that there are many people in the world who think “I want to do something I can do”.
My hometown is in Shikoku Island. When I went to an individual broken house as a volunteer, I told this to an affected person. At that time, he said “You came from as far as
I think volunteer work is not just free physical labor. Through volunteer activities at the affected area, we could send messages like “We are here and looking at you carefully”, “We want to be with you” directly to affected people. These actions may make mental relationship.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Tohoku University Library Prepares For Aftershock, and Protects Enormous Collection of Knowledge; Students are Taping Books in Place
Monday, May 2, 2011
|Car sank in water|
|Boiler by Asahi-shokai, heating power of 100,000 kcal/h)|
- Outline of the facility
|Bathhouse "hope" and the leader Nishimura(the 2nd|
from the left) with students from Tohoku University