一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

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2011.04.23 17:50

Volunteer report:23 April 2011-Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture-

We provided emergency relief in the form of meal preparation at Minato Primary School, Ishinomaki City. We would like to present some of the impressions of volunteers who participated in this activity.


(Mr K, Age 26, Male, Saitama prefecture resident)

kibou.jpgSince the immediate aftermath of the earthquake disaster of 11 March, I had been continually preoccupied with the thought that I should do something to help the devastated area, and therefore decided to participate in this volunteer activity.

The feelings one experiences at the actual disaster site proved to be very different from those experienced through television or other media. I was lost for words when I witnessed the overwhelming destructive force of the tsunami at the coast, and although this may sound sentimental, when I saw the cherry blossoms flowering in stark contrast to their devastated surroundings, I was not able to hold back my unexpected tears.

How is it possible to express in words the way that just one difference in paths could result in completely different consequences; is the word 'destiny' truly appropriate for this. I can't help but feel that whatever words I use feel too light.

One elderly lady I spoke to at the evacuation centre told me how she was saved only because she returned to save her friend.  I was shocked by the way in which just a small difference in timing made the distinction between life and death; I felt that I too am living an existence according to such timing, and realised anew that I must live my life earnestly.

(Mr I, Age 37, Male, Tokyo resident)
1.cooking-2.jpgAlthough my schedule was for a limited time, I participated in meal preparation. I saw before my eyes that the people who had evacuated there had lost their loved ones, homes, familiar communities, and were in extremely distressful, awful circumstances. It is certain that much more support is still needed, and it is important for there to be a system of emergency relief to support today's life, and tomorrow's life, through Japanese and foreign people coming together as one. However, at the same time, when I recall the proud character of friends and acquaintances from Tohoku I feel anxious about what lies ahead. What I feel most is that while retaining the dignity they originally possess, perhaps the time has come for these victims to work towards becoming independent.  In order for them to regain a life with a purpose while doing something worthwhile, I would like to find something I can do to help.


Categories:Ishinomaki,MiyagiRENTAI TOHOKU activities

2011.04.23 17:50 admin

2011.04.17 14:00

report:17 April 2011-Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture-

In the 3rd Week of April, we moved our activity base to Minato Primary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi. While providing meal services and helping to create a play space for children at the refuge shelter, we talked to some evacuees in order to grasp the needs for support and determine a direction of our future activities. The following is the voices of evacuees our volunteer staff interviewed.


(Male evacuee, Age around 70) Recorded on 17th April, 2011

Stopped Clock at 2.47pm.jpgAs my house is covered with mud, I must clean the mess from half past four every morning. Cleaning takes ages as there is no water supply. I cannot even wash myself when I get sweaty.
My only hobby used to be bird watching. But no wild birds fly in as things are like this. Now, I have nothing to look forward to apart from smoking. It is hard to find cigarette anywhere but my nephew was thoughtful enough to send me some packets.



P4170797.JPG(Male evacuee, Age around 70) Recorded on 17th April, 2011
My wife underwent amputation of a foot a week before the earthquake. Though she needs to see her doctor for post-operation follow-ups, the hospital has been closed. She has not seen the doctor yet. As transportation is paralysed, I cannot take her to a hospital away from here.






Categories:Ishinomaki,MiyagiRENTAI TOHOKU activities

2011.04.17 14:00 admin

2011.04.12 17:50

Kenji Miyazawa from the wreckage

While we were passing through Ohtsuchi-cho, Kamihei-gun in Iwate Prefecture, noren (a small curtain) covered with mud was found in the wreckage which the poem of "Rain, I will not be defeated" (by Kenji Miyazawa) was written.


















Categories:RENTAI TOHOKU activitiesSanriku

2011.04.12 17:50 admin

2011.04.11 13:30

Volunteer report:11 April 2011

We started the first week of our volunteer activities in the affected area with the exploration of the support truly needed from the local community. The following is the report by a volunteer member who joined us during this week.
(Where we went: Matsushima-cho, Miyagi-gun, Miyagi Prefecture → Minami Sanriku-cho Motoyoshi-gun, Miyagi Prefecture → Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture → Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture → Ootuchi-cho, Kamihei-gun, Iwate Prefecture)


Mr. K (Age 45, Tokyo Resident)

A thin line between life and death
Though I had seen the situation of disaster affected areas on television and in the photographs sent by my acquaintances, I was completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the devastation that I saw in real life. Amongst others, it was hard to take in the surreal scenery split between unharmed and totally destroyed areas by a slight difference of height, location etc. I cannot say it is appropriate to call it "a fate".
Especially, the view of Kamaishi city left me with the strongest impression. Unlike other fishery villages or residential areas near the coast, the city somehow retained its original features. However, it looked as if almost everything had been blasted off by air-raid. 


damaged Ohtsuchi area by the river.jpgSupport as it should be
After witnessing the terrible situation in various areas, I contemplated what I could do as an individual. However, at this moment when I am writing this report, I have not come up with an idea of any noticeable support which will become necessary following the current disaster relief campaign (11th April, 2011). I think that accomplishing a given task at one's company more sincerely and wholeheartedly than ever will ultimately lead to support for the disaster areas. As I am working as a personnel officer, I would like to become proactive in the recruitment and employment of earthquake and tsunami victims.


Future Restoration
The recovery of Tohoku will start with restoration of the infrastructure which is advancing daily depending on each area's circumstances. However, even to my untrained eye, it is evident the process will take at least 5 or even 10 years. The other day, on an NHK TV programme, Mr. Kousuke Motani (Counselor, Development Bank of Japan) declared, "There is no reason that Sanriku, with undamaged marine resources, will not revive". I was very impressed by this firm statement. In my opinion, the key question is who will draw the grand design that does not reflect politicians' power interests but truly focuses on the people.

This blog will post the reports by volunteers who joined Rentai Tohoku disaster relief activities.



Categories:RENTAI TOHOKU activitiesSanriku

2011.04.11 13:30 admin


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Latest articles

  • Volunteer report:23 April 2011-Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture-
  • report:17 April 2011-Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture-
  • Kenji Miyazawa from the wreckage
  • Volunteer report:11 April 2011