Japan

Activity Report on Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2)

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Support from Miyazaki to Tohoku -‘Vegetable Supporters’- (The NGO Collaboration Center for Hanshin Quake Rehabilitation)

Mount Shinmoe volcano in Miyazaki prefecture erupted on January 26th. We delivered support for this disaster and seven weeks later when the East Japan Great Earthquake occurred on March 11th, we went into action again supporting many areas affected by enormous damage.

We dispatched 4 staff members on the night of March 11th to earthquake affected areas to investigate the situation and give support.

We believe that it is important to continually support the areas affected by these two natural disasters. Therefore, under a concept, “Support from Miyazaki to Tohoku – the Sprit of Cooperation,” we called for “Vegetable Supporters.” In this project, we purchase vegetables produced in the areas affected by the eruption in Miyazaki prefecture, and use them for soup-runs in the Tohoku region.

The first soup-run using Miyazaki vegetables was provided in Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture which was tremendously damaged by the earthquake and the Tsunami. Bridges collapsed, cars plowed into homes, many ships washed ashore, and rubble and debris was strewn across main shopping streets and whole towns.

Warm soup was made with vegetables from Miyazaki and supplied at Minato primary school where about 500 people are currently staying by our cooperative NPO. The head of the community association asked people to open the windows and read aloud a message from the farmers in Miyazaki using a hand-held microphone. It has been reported that everyone was applauding in tears at the windows.

Also in Yonezawa city in Yamagata prefecture, soup-runs using vegetables from Miyazaki were provided. At the gym, while people were lining up for food, photographs of the areas affected by the eruption of the Mount Shinmoe and messages from farmers from whom the vegetables were bought were displayed, and our staff member talked about the situation in the Mount Shinmoe area. When the talk finished, all the people in the gym applauded. A mother yelled “Thank you” from a distance. One elderly lady told one of our staff members, “This radish is so tender and delicious.” A woman who was staring at the photographs said in tears, “I didn’t do anything for the people in the Mount Shinmoe area, but they are doing a lot for us. I am sorry.” Then, the photographs of the area affected by the eruption of the Mount Shinmoe and messages from the farmers were moved to the corridor for display, as well as a message board for people who evacuated to Yonezawa to write messages for people in Miyazaki. The board on the wall was filled with messages.

We are determined to connect disaster areas with each other and continue to give support to help them work together towards reconstruction.

The NGO Collaboration Center for Hanshin Quake Rehabilitation
5/6/2011