Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) is a non-governmental organization established in 1979 providing assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons, emergency assistance, assistance to persons with disabilities, mine action, action against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and public awareness campaigns. AAR JAPAN operates with no political, religious, or ideological affiliation. AAR JAPAN has supported 55 countries and areas out of 15 offices in multiple countries.
Direct Relief has been providing support to AAR JAPAN since March 2011, including significant cash grants to fund earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster relief and recovery efforts.
AAR JAPAN began its relief activities two days after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Funding from Direct Relief was used in the immediate aftermath for the distribution of food and non-food items (NFI), mobile clinic services, soup kitchen services, and operating costs.
AAR JAPAN has been working in over 35 sites in areas most severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami: Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.
All relief activities are conducted on official requests and with approvals of local governments. In many areas, telephone communication, electricity, gas, and water systems were still not available more than two months later, especially in Fukushima prefecture where the threat of radiation contamination is leading to back ups of supplies and assistance going into the areas close to the nuclear power plants, and is isolating citizens.
Special attention is paid to persons with disabilities (PWDs), to elderly people, and to the facilities supporting this population because these two groups of people tend to be left out of emergency assistance.
- Fukushima Prefecture: Date, Fukushima City, Minamisoma, Nihonmatsu, Soma
- Iwate Prefecture: Hanamaki, Ichinoseki, Kamaishi, Miyako, Ofunato, Otsuchi, Rikuzentakata, Tono, Yamada
- Miyagi Prefecture: Aobaku, Higashimatsushima, Ishinomaki, Iwanuma, Izumi, Kami, Kesennuma, Kurihara, Marumori, Minamisanriku, Miyagino, Natori, Onagawa, Osaki, Shibata, Shichigahama, Shiogama, Shiroishi, Tagajo, Taihaku, Taiwa, Tome, Wakabayashi, Watari
TOTAL AMOUNT GRANTED: $886,755
Emergency Relief Program Grant – Phase 1
Project Dates: March 13 to May 16, 2011
AAR JAPAN’s first phase of emergency work included immediate response and the transition to mid-term recovery work. The organization sought to fulfill the needs of the more than 400,000 displaced immediately after the disaster, as well as those victims who remained in homes but did not have access to basic food, supplies, and services. As services were restored to affected areas and the needs of people affected changed, AAR JAPAN adjusted their programs and expanded the physical reach of their services. During Phase 1, approximately 61,000 people and 513 institutions benefited from AAR JAPAN’s relief efforts.
AAR’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:
- Distribution of Food and Non-food items (NFI): Essential items were provided including fruit, rice, milk, vegetables, blankets, clothing, medicine, boots, bicycles, wheelchairs, and hand soap.
- Hot Bath Delivery: For seven weeks, hot water was delivered daily to five facilities in Higashi-Matsushima City and Ishinomaki City, enabling 500 to 600 evacuees to take baths.
- Mobile Clinic: Mobile clinic services were provided to private homes in the six settlements on Oshika Peninsula in Ishinomaki City. Approximately 405 people received medical services during Phase 1.
- Operation of Soup-Kitchen: Approximately 16,650 meals served in 48 facilities in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. Approximately 16,650 meals served in 48 facilities in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.
- Provision of Temporary Shelters: Eight temporary shelters were provided to displaced people in Onagawa, Miyagi, with 24 additional planned. AAR is also fielding requests for temporary housing in other areas.
- Repair of Welfare Institutions: Repair of welfare facilities began with the goal of assisting in repair activities of up to 50 facilities by December 2011.
- Shuttle Transportation Services: About 750 people utilized AAR JAPAN’s shuttle services in Oginohama and Ayukawa settlements on the Oshika peninsula, where 90% of the population was displaced. Regular bus services were disrupted since after disaster and many residents had no means of transportation.
Emergency Relief Program Grant – Phase 2
Project Dates: September 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012
AAR JAPAN’s second phase of emergency work addresses the mid- to long-term needs of disaster victims. This includes continued distribution of food and non-food item, repair of welfare facilities, and mobile medical services. Items and services are coordinated to provide comprehensive, multi-dimensional services to those in need. Based on assessment, most of these services will continue into 2012.
AAR’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:
- Distribution of Food and Non-food items (NFI): Continuation of provision of essential items to the displaced population.
- Mobile Clinic: Continuation of mobile medical services to remote settlements on the Oshika Peninsula, serving a population of approximately 640 people. During Phase 2, services will expand to include physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and community-building activities.
- Operation of Soup-Kitchen: Continued operation of meal service to welfare facilities, evacuation centers, and community centers, easing the burden of meal preparation from evacuees and facility administrators.
- Repair of Welfare Institutions: A wide range of repair and reconstruction projects are being conducted, from repaving walkways to repairing structural building damage. AAR JAPAN aims to assist 50 facilities, serving up to 100 people each, for persons with disabilities and elderly people in the Tohoku region.
Repair of Daycare Center for Persons with Disabilities in Fukushima
Project Dates: September 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013
AAR Japan will assist Morino Kumasan day care center by repairing it’s facility in Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture. The majority of current users are children with autism, ADHD, and other developmental disabilities. Repair of the facility will give 46 children a safe place to play and socialize.
AAR’s activities are detailed below:
- Repair Work: A local construction company will repair and reinforce the facility, which sustained severe damage from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011. A sunken floor will be lifted, damaged columns replaced, and finish applied. The damaged room will also be expanded to make room for the increased number of children the facility has been serving as a result of evacuations from the nuclear radiation areas.
- Evaluation: In addition to AAR’s constant monitoring of the repair work, a qualified architectural firm will confirm the quality and safety of the repair work when complete.