Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture
Approximately 6,257 individuals and 895 households were reached by RMF’s partner in Japan, JEN’s, activities during this period.
JEN staff and volunteers clearing rubble (Photo credit JEN)
1 Material Distribution
Four cases of canned food were distributed at the sports day event at Ogihama Primary School in Ishinomaki. In-kind donations (9,000 bottles of shampoo and bath towels) were prepared at JEN’s Ishinomaki warehouse for further distribution.
2 Sludge Removal Volunteer Dispatch
Supported by 1,410 volunteers, JEN has completed removing rubble and sludge from a total of 153 houses in the Watanoha and Oshika Peninsula areas of Ishinomaki City.
Needs are now shifting from rubble and sludge removal of homes to the removal/cleaning of sludge from roadside ditches, an urgent task before the rainy season.
3 Soup Kitchen Volunteer Dispatch
Continued providing hot meals for lunch and dinner to earthquake/tsunami victims taking shelter in their own houses. During this reporting period, JEN volunteers provided 6,245 hot meals to these evacuees.
The government of Ishinomaki city is now covering up to 400 yen per meal for ingredients paid to organizations that are providing continuous soup kitchen support (only 5 organizations are eligible so far). The first order under this support was made on the 30th of May, and the ingredients were delivered on the 3rd June.
From the 1st of June and onwards, soup kitchens supported by Ishinomaki city will be limited to those citizens who are pre-registered. Once people move out of the evacuation centers to transitional shelters, people will return to the ‘Assistance-Required Household Card’ and will no longer be eligible to soup-kitchen services. It is being discussed with self-governing committees of JEN’s project communities whether to follow the city’s direction in this matter.
JEN has started an assessment of those who come to the soup kitchen services, creating a list of demographic data and living conditions (health, vehicle possession and possibility of cooking etc.).
4 Psychosocial Care through Community Cafés
JEN is providing spaces called “Community Cafés” where evacuees can gather for activities and share their experiences as a form of psychosocial care. There are currently two locations for these activities. ‘
During this reporting period, a selection of professional psycho-social activities were provided at the Café, consisting of “relax touch” (self-massage), soft massage, and yoga classes. 12 participants enjoyed these services last week.
Four students from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies have visited every weekend and are planning to implement children-related activities. There have been requests from community members to use the venue for hobby group activities and meetings of local welfare commissioners.
The building that JEN’s 2nd café (temporary) resided in was decided to be demolished and rebuilt by the building owner during the 2nd week of June. Thus, the soup kitchen activity has moved into the tent next to the café.
This community centre, established with donations collected from the surrounding community, has been chosen as JEN’s 3rd café. Since this has already been used frequently by community members for various uses, it is expected to be the most successful one. However, as this building was severely damaged by the Tsunami, the expensive cost of repairs could be a drawback. A few other potential buildings have been spotted around various communities of Ishinomaki if this one turns out to be too expensive.
5 Rubble Clearance through Assisting Local Waste Management Contractors
20 dump trucks bought second hand were delivered to Ishinomaki on the 28th of May, and some of them have already been handed over to contractors in Ishinomaki who passed JEN’s selection criteria. The damage level of the truck fleets of these contractors by the Tsunami was up to 40% so these extra trucks are in high demand.
The vehicles will be available as free rentals from JEN during the project period of 6 months, but upon completion of the project JEN plans to transfer the vehicles to an association consisting of all local companies after a 2 year probationary period.
6 Assistance for People in Transitional Shelters
JEN distributed items such as bedding, clothing, kitchenware, and hygiene materials, etc. for 1,208 households at transitional temporary shelters in Ishinomaki City. The city has begun or completed the construction of 4,389 transitional shelters to date.
Delivery took longer during this period because 1) there was a gap between the delivery manifest and actual number of materials, 2) materials arrived without being divided by item. To cover the shortage of materials, making additional orders delayed the whole distribution process, and thus JEN will be changing suppliers for the next reporting period in order to speed up the procurement.
7 Assistance of small to mid-size local businesses
JEN has begun projects to encourage the revitalization of small to mid-size local businesses over the next year. During the reporting period, the basic outline as well as posters has been prepared. Call for applications through local newspaper and radio will be published followed by the orientation in the next reporting period.
8 Needs Assessment
Assessments of the living situation at all evacuation centres of Ishinomaki is ongoing using an interview survey methodology. It will be completed in the first week of July.
9 Entertainment and Relaxation
・JEN organized a facial massage event by volunteers at 4 evacuation centres of Ishinomaki on the 24th of May.
・JEN implemented book reading by an ex-newscaster at Mizuho Kindergarten in Ishinomaki on the 24th of May.
・JEN organized an event of face and hand massage by 10 make-up professionals as well as cosmetics distribution at 2 evacuation centers on the 26th of May.
・JEN coordinated a football (soccer) class event by the ex-coach of the National Football Team at the Kazuma Primary School in Ishinomaki.
1) Main Issues or Concerns in the Field
Severe land shortage in Ishinomaki has delayed the prefecture office in 1) expanding the temporary rubbish disposal sites, 2) building a recycling facility to separate the rubbish into pieces and burn anything non-recyclable.
Clearance of debris on pedestrian streets has enabled volunteers to clean the road-side ditches. As the public streets will be cleared by the Road Department of the Ishinomaki City Council, JEN will support the clearing of private streets between individual houses. JEN has been given the sewage map of Ishinomaki and is now in site selection.
2) Any Other comments
JEN hired 2 additional local staffs in Ishinomaki, and that made a local team of 15.
JEN is also in a process of hiring part-time laborers to help distribution at transitional shelters, creating income opportunities for local people.
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