The Kumamoto Earthquake Report 5:
Local needs, local solutions, local presence
April 27th 2016
The number of evacuees at the evacuation center has decreased to over 40,000, and step towards recovery is starting with opening up of volunteer centers in various places in Kumamoto. YMCA also opened a volunteer center in Aso-mountain area, using their camp facility. This is a facility that has accommodation and even meal provision for the volunteers, and having such a facility will definitely boost the recovery efforts in this community.
Kuruma-gaeri is right by Aso-mountain area, and the damage has been severe. You will see these collapsed houses all around, and residents from this area have evacuated to near-by communal hall, not knowing when their recovery will actually begin.
Usually, residents’ situation of damage and clean-up tasks they require are reported from the volunteers to the head of this ward. Then the local authority communicates this to social welfare council, and the request for volunteers will be issued. This process sometimes is not as fast as what people prefer, and it helps to have local YMCA presence who can expedite the process by liaising directly with local authority and social welfare council.
“We know these community members because we are here and we’ve been having regular interaction with them through our youth and camp programs,” said Yamada from Kumamoto YMCA. Luckily, their camp facility in Aso has not been collapsed, and they were able to get it back in shape again in the first week. Now, this is where YMCA’s strength lies; they transformed their facility into volunteer base so that many volunteers can work for near-by communities.
There are number of tasks near-by community members require for their recovery. For example, rubbles from collapsed houses should be removed, but there are things they can still utilize such as roofing tile. Removing these roofing tile one by one would require human hands, and this is where the presence of volunteers would really be helpful.
Out of 27,000 residents in this area, 5,000 have been forced to evacuate. This is almost 20% of the entire population in the area, and the road to recovery will be a challenging one. One elderly woman said, “This is so… encouraging!”, when YMCA team arrived. Understanding local needs, providing local solutions, with local presence is definitely the strength of this team, and they have a huge role in the path to recovery of this community.
I guess this is what we mean when we say during World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) process, ‘Aid must be as local as possible, and as international as necessary’.
Name : The National Council of YMCAs of Japan
Address : 7 Honshio-cho Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo
Beneficiary Bank : THE BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI UFJ,LTD.
Branch Name : YOTSUYA BRANCH
Bank Address : 3-2-1 YOTSUYA SHINJUKU-KU TOKYO
Swift code : BOTKJPJT
Account Number : 051-0111494
The National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Church World Service Japan are working together as partner for relief activities in Kumamoto Earthquake.
Interviewer and Photos taken by: Takeshi Komino
|Name||The National Council of YMCAs of JAPAN|