JFD: Report on the relief supply project
The relief goods were brought by the JFD staff in Miyagi Prefecture hit by the earthquake.
The relief team of three members were dispatched by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf relief project headquarters in Tokyo gave a progress report.
We safely arrived in the evening from Tokyo at the Miyagi Prefecture welfare center for persons with disabilities in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and were welcomed by about 15 local Deaf members and volunteers.
And then the relief supply and the van were handed to the Miyagi Prefecture Association of the Deaf.
The following was what was reported in the meeting with the Association.
- More damage done in the coast area than the inland in the prefecture.
- In the coast area, a lot of Deaf people and interpreters lost their house and car.
- The stove, etc. are used to boil the water because there is no gas yet though the electricity just started yesterday.
- There is a rescue requested in the processing of the collapsing house.
- A base for the interpreter activity has not been made yet in each city on the coast.
- Relief supplies which the association asks for were as follows.
･Bicycles: People who used the car commuting have lost it by the tsunami. A bicycle may help them move around.
･Shoes: especially for the children.
- Though there is information on facilities in each prefecture in the stricken area, any facility for persons with disabilities is unknown.
- The briefing concerning the transfer outside the district school has started, but it is not certain whether interpreting nor note-taking is offered.
The distribution of the relief goods in the refuge in a far region was scheduled for this day. The gasoline of the van was less than the half, so we looked for the gas station in the morning.
A few gas station for a general refueling already closed temporarily due to lack of gasoline. However, there is another gas station for the emergency vehicle. We had the Miyagi Prefecture emergency vehicle permit, and it took us about 50 minutes queuing up to the stand to refuel.
Because a line of cars stretching for 2km to the gas station for a general vehicle, Deaf residents must not have been able to refuel easily.
We arrived at the Association Office at 10:30. The relief goods from the Meisei Gakuen School for the Deaf also came, and everyone sorted all the goods in outside until evening due to the manpower shortage. So the goods were not distributed to the members who need some.
The sort work of the relief goods was hard because there were a lot of boxes with various things in. It is necessary to put the same kind of things in one box so that the work load of the stricken area headquarters should be less.
Meanwhile we interviewed several members who provided vital information as follows;
- Immediately after the earthquake occurred, all blacked out, and all lifelines such as gas, etc. stopped.
- Neither the television, the fax nor the cellular phone were connected for about one week until the lights were on, so the Deaf residents did not know when the tsunami approached the coast soon.
- The gas check has started, and it will be possible to use it at home for cooking and bathing, etc. on around April 1 at the earliest.
- The Deaf victims were able to take a hot bath after a long time. They were unable to take a bath for two weeks, cleaning the body, etc. with the towel wrung with the hot water.
- The debris of the destroyed houses, etc. are possibly used as a fuel. If you find a pan, etc. somewhere, you can use it to boil the water.
- Because the houses or the buildings with the seismic design don't have any material as a fuel, so a propane gas cylinder or fixed fuel will be needed.
Lastly we attended the meeting with the Association at 18:00. They gave us a report on their activities and made a request for needy goods. Both the parties confirmed that the van was donated to them to support their relief activities.
The earthquake with a strong shake happened at 7:24 in the morning. We exchanged greetings with the Association officials and volunteers before we got on the express bus for Shinjuku in Tokyo and departed at 9:30. The bus is reserved only for those who involve in disaster relief activities.