Direct Relief and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) recently awarded $400,000 to the Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan) to support AAR Japan’s Phase 2 Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Project.
Although AAR Japan’s primary focus is on the distribution of food and other essential items, the 31-year-old organization has also initiated long-term recovery efforts that include repairing damaged welfare facilities, constructing and distributing temporary housing units, and operating mobile medical units.
New projects funded by Direct Relief in Phase 2 include the distribution of vehicles to welfare facilities to support the Building Healthy Communities Project, which will provide physical and occupational therapy, organize community-building activities, and provide post-traumatic stress counseling to people affected by the disaster.
AAR Japan is working in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures, providing services to the most vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and the displaced. AAR Japan reports that approximately 100,000 displaced people are gradually returning to their homes or moving into temporary housing. Many have lost their livelihoods in the fishing, farming, and other industries, and still need support. Reports of infectious diseases, caused by heat and poor hygiene conditions, are increasing as temperatures rise in the tsunami-affected regions. Japan has not requested medical aid from Direct Relief.
Based on frequent needs assessments, AAR Japan has committed to providing food, hot baths, transportation, and repair of welfare facilities until normal services resume in the target communities. In the first two months of the relief efforts, AAR Japan provided assistance to approximately 61,000 people. Distributed items include fuel, rice, milk, vegetables, blankets, towels, medicine, boots, books, beds, wheelchairs, and hand soap.