Japan: NGO JEN Emergency Response to Kumamoto Earthquake
Bringing Emergency Assistance to Vulnerable Communities
June 14, 2016
Summary of Activities
April 15th-May 30th 2016
Through Real Medicine Foundation’s support, JEN is working to provide emergency assistance to earthquake-affected districts that have not yet received aid. JEN seeks out and provides aid for communities that are neglected due to severe road conditions, small populations, elderly populations, etc.
Main Issues and Concerns
Small earthquakes continue in the area; there have been more than 1,000 tremors. Even though the number of quakes is decreasing, area residents feel unsafe staying in their own houses; houses are more isolated, and since they have been hit by tremors more than 1,000 times, nobody knows if the houses are strong enough for the next big earthquake. JEN continues to monitor the situation, and will deliver emergency assistance to the most vulnerable communities until the situation returns to normal.
As of May 22, 2016 in Kumamoto:
- 1,618 Casualties
- 69 Victims
- 1 Missing Person
- 7,866 Homes Destroyed
9554 Homes Damaged
The initial needs assessment team was sent to Kumamoto, Japan (the area most heavily affected) on April 15, 2016 to assess earthquake damage. The initial damage seemed extensive, but then the main tremor struck in the middle of the night on April 16, 2016 and changed everything. Fortunately, our team in Kumamoto was confirmed safe.
- Assessed local government offices
- Assessed evacuation centers
- Assessed victims’ houses
- Fulfilled requests from local government offices to help them distribute non-food items to evacuation centers
- Coordinated soup kitchens for the victims staying in and around government office buildings
- Sent several volunteer nurses to visit elderly citizens’ homes and accommodate evacuated residents
Distribution of Necessities
Based on our team’s assessment of the area’s water shortage (which compromises communities’ hygiene and cleanliness), JEN distributed 9,000 pairs of underwear in the village of Minami Aso on April 25, 2016.
Minami Aso is a mountainous area which became isolated when the earthquake destroyed the bridge and tunnel connecting the community to Kumamoto and surrounding cities.
JEN has distributed various NFI (Non-Food Items) to evacuated residents, this one was kindly donated by UNIQLO.
Non Food Distribution
Early this May, nearly 300 evacuation shelters were consolidated into 22 base shelters in the city of Kumamoto. One of the shelters is located in a building that used to house offices of the health food company Egao (the name means “smile” in Japanese).
One of the major difficulties is the lack of hot water. At this shelter, JEN has been offering an on-site bath service for residents as well as additional electric hot-water pots (now 3 pots for 50 residents) for cooking.
Comfort for the Displaced
The changing weather has also caused problems for earthquake victims. As the temperature rises, winter blankets (provided for cold nights when area residents had just been evacuated) are becoming unsuitable. Thus, JEN offered a towel blanket for each evacuee.
JEN is preparing for the emergency goods distribution and further assistance in Kumamoto City NOT covered by the current assistance.
- Restoring a self-supporting livelihood both economically and mentally
- Bringing supplies to victims of the earthquake
- Supplying any other aid necessary to help the people of Kumamoto City