Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 19 (Saturday): From Sendai

The weather has been nice and warm since morning.

Our team, broken into three smaller groups, sorted out relief supplies from Tokyo by item.

These are mostly sanitation goods received from individual donors. There is currently high demand for sanitation goods.

We visited agencies where the local nonprofit, Foodbank Tohoku AGAIN, provides support on regular basis, in order to deliver supplies and check the current conditions.

We drove 5 trucks with relief supplies down to Sendai City, Natori City, Iwanuma City, Higashi-Matsushima City and Kami-gun, and delivered food and other necessities to 16 agencies, including evacuation centers, orphanages, facilities for the elderly & disabled, hotels, and other cooperative nonprofits.

Although electricity is back, running water and gas supply is still cut off in many of the affected areas. Local people are unable to take a bath since the earthquake, and sanitation infrastructure like toilet has not been fully put in place.

Therefore, there is increasing demand of wet wipes.

Now hot meals can be prepared in the facilities equipped with IH cooker, but where those without it, people are still boiling water by gas which is running out shortly.

Obviously, it is not clear when new propane tanks or gas cylinders will be delivered.
Relief supplies are coming from local government and other agencies as well, but it is not sufficient.

The number one problem here is the shortage of gasoline. There are several kilometers of waiting line of cars at every gas station in the city.

At agencies, 2 meals are provided a day for adults and 3 meals for children in orphanages.

Just one rice-ball, Japanese pickles and tea for a meal, or even steamed potato or fried noodles without any fixings in attempt to save foods.

There is a shortage of protein.

We heard lots of voice hoping for canned foods like tuna and meats.

Due to the devastated distribution, orphanages are running out diapers and powder milks. Staff of an orphanage says they would like to give snacks and juice to children while they understand it is not the time they can hope for the best.

Needed in the elderly facilities are adult diapers and wet wipes.
Their stocks of consumable items such as toilet papers are for 2 to 3 days.

Now supplies are starting to come to agencies, but there is obvious difference between what is delivered and what is not.

Most wanted is hot meal.

We prepare rice balls in another place, so it’s already cold when we serve them.
There is no way we can provide something hot.

Not only because of the continuous cold weather, hot meals are wanted for hearts.

We were trying to find a way to store relief supplies delivered from Tokyo and distribute them adequately.

Thanks to a good coincidence, it turned out Jodo-shu (Jodo Buddhism) temple in Sendai city could offer a place for storage.

Under the current situations in the affected areas where needs are extremely fluid, we can deliver required items when necessary by having stocks of supplies.

Today’s Delivery

Delivered Area: Natori City, Iwanuma City, Higashi-Matsushima City, Kami-gun, Sendai City

No. of Delivered Agencies: 32

Delivered Items: Pouch-packed curries, sanitation goods, rice, rice balls and other necessities from individual supporters

We greatly appreciate you all for your warming support. 

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