Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Philippines' fund-raiser to repay Japan

"The amount of money collected from our poor township residents may be so small for the Japanese, but we would like to possibly help the people who had saved us," said Mayor Rico Rentuza of Saint Bernard township on Leyte Island in the Central Philippines where the massive landslide had killed 1,000 residents in 2006.  He started a fund-raiser to give something back to Japan, which had contributed to Saint Bernard's reconstruction and rehabilitation to build temporary housing.

(translation from the article by Asahi Shimbun on March 27, 2010:

A volunteer's voice: we are brothers and sisters, that's the teaching of Islam

(By a volunteer who came from Aichi Prefecture. Interviewed at the Shiroyama Gymnastic Hall & Central Community Center,  Ohtsuchi Cho, Kamihei Gun, Iwate Prefecture)
We Musulim think that we are all brothers and sisters. Regardless of language or religion, when disaster like this happens, we go where it happens and help each other. That is the teaching of Islam.

from NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 24, 2011
His name cannot be put into English. His photo is the second from the bottom

I would rather travel back in time before tsunami hit us

(by Mr. Kazuki Saito, an evacuee at the Shiroyama Gymnastic Hall & Central Community Center,  Ohtsuchi Cho, Kamihei Gun, Iwate Prefecture)
Before the quake hit, we took it for granted eating rice, hamburg, etc. and and I used to eat plateful of rice. But here, we can only get small portions of food. Besides, we only get small side dishes and miso soup. I do not want to live like this every again. I would rather travel back in time before the tsunami hit us by time machine. I want to go further back.

from NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 24, 2011
The third from the top on the site is Kazuki.

Doctor's note from the evacuation center: diabetic patients in need of insulin

3days after the quake hit, I went to Iwate for relief activity but all the medicine I brought with me was quickly gone. Especially, those diabetic patient was suffering without sufficient insulin supply.

(posted on

Doctor's note from the evacuation center: majority of victims died of drowning

I have participated in medical volunteer organized by Miyagi Prefectural Medical Association. My task was to create postmortem certificates and I could not manage doing my job without shedding tears. The condition of the disaster-affected area is way beyond what is being shown on TV or written in the newspapers. Predominant cause of deaths is drowning and suffocation. More damage was done by tsunami than by earthquake itself.  Since tsunami was involved, it was a matter of death or life, no room for in-between. Not many scene of being saved from underneath the rubble. I was moved to see the member of Self-Defence Forces and firefighters quietly do their jobs in a brisk pace. I set up a donation box at my clinic and many patients gave contribution in a short period of time. I am going to get involved  with rebuilding effort of the disaster-affected area in various ways. I would hope that many med school students volunteer to participate in the relief activity during their spring break. It is going to be a true life lesson. Personally, I think it should be a compulsory subject.  Hang in there, Japan! (Gambare, Nippon!)

What a volunteer nurse witnessed during a week after the quake

Ms. Toshiko Mitake, a nurse working for a hospital in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, volunteered to go to Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture, severely hit area as well as Ms. Mitake's hometown. She could not believe the image on TV--her hometown completely destroyed and devastated. She tried to contact her parents in Otsuchi but could not reach them.

"They must have been dead..." she thought and cried that day.

3 days after the quake, she found herself on the way to Tohoku region, to provide medical relief as a volunteer member of the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA). She first got to Sendai for relief activity. Afterwards, she moved to Otsuchi and Kamaishi, where the medical rescue was hard to deliver. On the 15th, she got her parents'. Two-floor house was damaged by tsunami on the 1st floor, but she found that her parents evacuated to a nearby house and were safe, to her great relief.

Ms. Mitake witnessed dismal state of evacuees in her hometown. People got bladder inflammation because they tried to frequent less to the bathroom (to avoid waiting in cold and long line). Others were suffering from allergy not being able to change their clothes. Many people are so traumatized by the quake and they got so scared every time afterquake came.

"It was so cold at the evacuation center," she recalled the first seven days since the quake. She could not stay longer and now she is back to work in Kawasaki. But she is willing to volunteer again in the future.

(summary of the article by Jiji Press on March 24, 2011)

Losing home twice, not feel like rebuilding a house again

(by Mr. Kikio Tadano, an evacuee at the Akasaki Fishing Village Center, Ohfunato, Iwate Prefecture)
I had experienced losing my house a long time ago due to a gigantic earthquake in Chile and tsunami afterwards that arrived at the Japanese coastal area across the ocean.  I lost my house again by the earthquake a few weeks ago.  I can’t find even the roof of my house.  I would recognize it if at least the roof was intact.  I don’t feel like building a house again for the third time after losing them twice.  

from NHK website "Those Affected by the Disaster: What I want to tell you now" on March 25, 2011
The top photo on the site is Mr. Tadano.