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Too Slow Support in the Field -by Keiko Kiyama

- by Keiko Kiyama (Board/Secretary General)

I, once again, would like to express my condolences to the deceased and the bereaved families and my sympathy to those hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

As you may know from the website of JEN, we first started our operation in Sendai, and then, shifted to Ishinomaki to support people affected by the disaster. I would like to write blog articles related to Great East Japan Earthquake for the time being.

Comparing with what I have seen in the field of emergency assistance overseas, the emergency responses here keep me surprising. First off, speed of support is too slow. Off course, I must admit that we are also a part of such slow support activities. But, to be honest, it is unacceptable to see evacuees being relocated from classrooms in a school to a gymnasium or volunteers still providing soup kitchen to evacuees at the moment when whole 6 weeks have passed in Ishinomaki.

This is neither criticism to the government nor to the local municipality. Efforts by local municipality staff, who are also affected by the disaster, are amazing. It is not my intention to say ‘do it harder’ to those staff who are already working so hard.

But, even so, why don’t things work fine there?

One thing is scale of damages. Damages reached too vast areas in too devastating scale. Much improvement has been seen in populated areas after people removed debris. Meanwhile, debris are still untouched in deserted areas, which means areas where death tolls were high.

April 27, 2011 in Tohoku Earthquake |