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【JPN Relief-9】 Children Return to a Cleaned Gym (Report 3)
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On April 30th, the volunteer team proceeded with their 2nd day's activities in Ofunato City.
Ms. Isako Matsuoka, a representative of Kobe Gaidai Habitat spent her morning cleaning at the Fukushino Sato centre, which was just a centre for physical and mental rehabilitation before the earthquake and tsunami. Now the usual residents have joined by 70 evacuees and volunteers. Isako works alongside a staff member and the staff tells her how she was working when the earthquake struck and Ofunato residents just fled towards the centre as it is built on the top of the hill. They couldn't believe what was happening. The staff member has a very bright and fun character, taking her job cleaning the centre very seriously to try to make the evacuees' time at the centre as comfortable as possible - she feels it is the least she can do. It makes Isako feel good to know that she is there caring and worrying about the evacuees.
Pictures: Habitat and All Hands Volunteers clean up at Takata High School (three pictures from left)
Looking out at the devastation, in Rikuzentakata city
Isako worked alongside other volunteers to clear one of Takata High School's gymnasiums (School Building of Hirota) in Rikuzentakata City, Ofunato's neighbouring city in the afternoon. By the end of the day, the gym was so clean that students could have walked straight in and started playing basketball. The clock at the front of school is stuck at 3.04 - this was when the tsunami stuck, about 20 minutes after the earthquake.
A staff member of Habitat also visited evacuation centre (Daiichi Junior High School) in Rikuzentakata City. At a large evacuation centre, set up in a school, a staff member met Ms. Kazue Murakami, a 52-year-old-lady who now just has 2m × 3m space of a gymnasium to call her home. Her house was washed away. The only reason she survived is because she was in hospital at the time. Her elderly mother and cat were at home and she hasn't seen them since then. Eighteen days after the disaster, her mother's body was found. Every person in the evacuation centre of 500 people has a story like Kazue's.
Media reports claim that Rikuzentakata was 'wiped off the map' by the tsunami. Over 1,300 people died here and 800 are still missing. The acceptance of a continuous volunteer will be requested in the future.
Today was the 2nd day since the volunteers had begun their activities. They have felt the situation real and sorrow of evacuees. They continue to apply themselves to volunteer activities tomorrow too.
◆ Back Number
2011.04.29 Volunteers Taking Action in Tohoku
2011.04.28 First Volunteer Team Heads Out to Tohoku
2011.04.19 Toiletries Delivered to Ofunato city, Iwate
2011.04.13 Toiletries Delivered to Soma city, Fukushima
2011.04.10 Thousands Support HFH's Response in Earthquake-Hit Japan
2011.04.04 Campus Chapters Fundraise for Rebuilding Japan
2010.03.31 Donation from APP Japan
2011.03.14 Donate to Help Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Victims