O.G.A. FOR AID has been busy this last month here in Minamisanriku. Work in Tokyo is busy also as we continue to make new friends, connections and hold events.
During February we were able to sponsor a valentines party for local residents in Minamisanriku, mostly young adults in their 20's and 30's attended. The Sea Side Center has been more active and residents are starting to pop by and use the facility. Thank you to Liam Cosgrove for managing the center this month!
Angela was given the opportunity to speak at a TPF2 forum at the Waseda University in Tokyo. There she was explaining a bit about O.G.A. FOR AID and its experiences in Minamisanriku and disaster relief work during the immediate aftermath of March 11 2011.

March 2012 will continue on with a flurry as we prepare for GFA's transition out of the winter months and into spring tilling and planting.
The Community Learning Center will have its shuttle bus up and running by the last week, flags and signs are being prepared for awareness and to facilitate guests.
March 14th at Biervana in Akasaka from 6pm there will be a St. Patricks Day event, organized by INJ and Europubworks, all raffle proceeds are being donated to O.G.A. FOR AID so please come along if you can and tell your friends too!! :) Come by Biervana again on the 18th if you would like to catch up in person and hear about the work up in Tohoku, O.G.A. FOR AID staff and volunteers will be there again and marching in the parade in Omotesando later.

Distribution to various neighborhoods and temporary housing areas is bi weekly this coming month, Peter is organizing the distribution with local staff and volunteers  who join us for the day(s). please send us an email if you would like the chance to help out hands on.

Here's to another productive month, there is still much to be done. we are eager to continue implementing projects already running as well as initiate new ones as the needs demand. Thank you all!

The link below showcases some of the events and happenings during the month of February. we hope you enjoy watching it, and thank you all for your continued support. We appreciate it so very much! Here is what WE ALL, (yes, you too!), not just us have been able to accomplish. がんばろう!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hqhbp6oXiQ

 

Sincerely,

Peter, Damon, Angela and Erwin, O.G.A. FOR AID

一般社団法人O.G.A. FOR AID

September 2011

O.G.A. FOR AID update:

Since our beginning relief drive to the devastated town of Minamisanriku on March 19th 2011 O.G.A. FOR AID has distributed 1075 tons of food, water, essential supplies and various other items that were needed by local residents. This has been possible in large part to the many volunteers who have joined our efforts over the last months. We thank all of you for your support!

August and September volunteers: Collin Rennie, Mr.Taniuchi , Mika Ohba, Ellen, Mat and Will from Tottori, Yudai from Osaka, Steven from Canada, and James Stone,

Local situation: by the end of September most residents in Minaminamisanriku will be in their own temporary housing units, and most or all "hinanjyo’s" will be closed or return to their former status.

The town is rapidly clearing rubble and debris; small progress can be seen by way of rebuilding on a small and temporary scale. Many “ Kasetsu Stores” or shops, small restaurants etc. have sprung up around and even amidst the rubble.

There is still no definite plan for rebuilding the town, the coast line has sunk and every evening at high tide, the sea water reaches up to Route 45, the main road that runs through town. This is an everyday reminder that the town as it once was will never be, though the residents are eager to begin rebuilding, working and moving on with their lives. Even though many of the younger residents have left, those that remain are excited about all they want to do in the future, happy to feel that after everything that they have been through, and the difficult times behind and still ahead of them they at least have come to the point where they can dream about the future once more.

Projects: O.G.A. FOR AID has been busy at work these last few months, distribution of food and water supplies have continued and the many low income families in Minamisanriku can look forward to receiving water and care boxes of food staples about once every 10 days. The immediate need of the residents as we have seen is in their livelihood. Many residents are without a job and this situation is not changing anytime soon. Throughout our discussions we understood that Utatsu and Shizugawa area have a lot of un used farm land. O.G.A. FOR AID staff gathered plots of land, cut the grass, tilled, fertilized and limed the soil. GFA farmers plant, cultivate and harvest the produce. Salaries and a revenue for these local farmers is now a real and tangible thing.

*See full outline on website for more details

O.G.A. FOR AID staff are still actively striving to raise support and awareness of the plight of the fisherman, their needs for equipment, ships, forklifts, nets etc.

Self-improvement is an international matter, and even the countryside residents of Minamisanriku feel the need for this. Many understand that if they are to take initiative for the betterment of their community then they themselves must first grow. Due to the huge exposure to individuals from all over the world, the towns of Minamisanriku have a positive and curious mentality towards new ideas and cultures. From the older to the young children, learning English, learning how to better use a computer, to work excel, word, power point etc, how to design and create a blog, how to use facebook, and utilize the internet are all things they want and would do well to learn.

O.G.A. FOR AID is working towards setting up a space to be used as a community learning center where these programs and activities can be learned.

 

Distribution
  • 36 pallets of water (roughly 36 tons)
  • 4 tons of rice
  • 4 tons of daikon (Japanese radish)
  • 15 tons of condiments (Japanese): mirin, soysauce, vinegar, ajinomoto, dashi
  • 2.7 tons of milk
  • 1440 packs of natto (beans)
  • 1800 oranges

Special thanks to HOPE-JP and Second Harvest for their contribution of supplies.

Current Base Camp Staff
  • Angela Ortiz
  • Kei Watabe
  • Damon Farry

We also had a special visit from Erwin Oritz this week.

Volunteers
  • Mr & Mrs Koizumi, Mr Ando, Ms Oba, Ms Tanabe, Mr Otani firefighters from Yamagata who helped with distribution and driving.
  • Mr Izeki, owner of Endeavour trucking company volunteered his time and two 4 ton trucks to deliver Japanese radishes & water.
Activities
  • We met with IsraAid an NPO involved with PTSD, they are holding seminars in various cities which are aimed at instructing teachers and parents on how to spot and deal with children experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.Many children and even adults are now just beginning to deal with the internal scars of this disaster. As media interest and volunteers are slowly declining, the long road and obstacles ahead for them are clearer and definitely overwhelming. We will do all we can to aid organizations that head up these seminars and educate others on how to successfully deal with these specific concerns.
  • A large storm (typhoon) hit the region on May 30th. Some of the bridges closed down due to the harsh winds and torrential rains. O.G.A. for Aid repaired damages done to their warehouse and storage tent, luckily no injuries or permanent damage was had.
  • We held another successful free market, allowing residents to take home food condiments, milk, water, canned goods, snacks, clothes, hygiene supplies, shoes, stationary etc.
  • Another food line, prepared by Mr and Mrs Koizumi from Yamagata was made for the neighborhood of Hosoura; 300 packs of flavored rice balls!
  • Hidenori Takisawa, renowned Italian chef from Hachinohe, Aomori, visited the Hotel Kanyo to prepare a special meal of homemade ham, asparagus and strawberries alongside a delicious curry rice dish for the staff of the Hotel. The remaining staff of Hotel Kanyo work hard day in and day out to care for the 600 home refugees that are now living in the Hotel.Thank you to Chef Hidenori for a wonderful spread to lift the spirits and lend support!
  • O.G.A. for Aid staff Kei and Damon met with Gavin Allwright, a Director of Greenheart project an organization involved with helping fishermen build new rigs onto their boats for cleaning out the sea.
Stats of the city June 1, 2011
  • Shelters within Minamisanriku: 26 locations
  • Shelters outside of Minamisanriku: 55 locations
  • Total number of shelters for former residents of Minamisanriku: 81 locations (including temporary housing)
  • Number of bodies found: 529
  • Number of bodies identified: 414
Stats from March 28th 2011
  • Number of persons in shelters: 9,500
  • Number of shelters: 45
  • Pre tsunami population: 17,666

As the statistics above lay out quite plainly, there are many who will never know closure as to the fate of their loved ones; 3 months have passed and still thousands have not been found, likely will never be physically recovered.

Days go by, water is on its way still, with the city estimating complete non drinkable running water by August. Electricity is back in almost every area. The streets are looking slightly clearer of debris; they are beginning to build a proper bridge between Shizugawa and the southern end of Minamisanriku where the Hotel Kanyo is located. Up till now, since the initial days after the Tsunami, has been only a military bridge. Once this bridge has been built running water will return to the Hotel Kanyo!

Temporary Housing Conditions

Temporary housing are built in many different areas; one thing of interest is that they are not all uniform. In certain areas they are quite pleasant and constructed with solid, quality looking materials while others are obviously built to lower standards, with paper thin walls, shoddy quality materials and very haphazardly put together.

Could not load widget with the id 13.