Posted by: japanecolodge | April 22, 2011

Excerpts of 5th RQ General Meeting minutes

Field Report

WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS!

  • Extremely large disaster areas, even the evacuation shelters were destroyed – existing rescue methods are not as effective as anticipated
  • In the first month, RQ has dispatched about 25 vehicles and 2,110 volunteers amounting to 210 tons of goods and supplies delivered in 150 places
  • Ishinomaki city was inundated with goods due to good access, on the other hand, northward communities lack the goods indicating the imbalance in distribution of goods and services
  • 5 or 6 support locations are being established with the Tome group with prospects to open a community-based nature school in future
  • Desire to have hundreds of volunteers on the fields, but only about 100 are active due to transportation and accommodation constraints – yet need to carried out the work effectively observing the radiation hazards
  • General volunteers’ tasks will be focused on the removal of debris – 1) light debris: trashes scattered in the areas need to be removed by human especially in the woods 2) paper, plastic and Styrofoam: millions of volunteers are needed to remove them (it took 1.5 million for 95 Kobe earthquake) best to remove them by June when the grass starts to grow 3) heavy debris: iron, steel, concrete, etc. are in the hands of government and Self Defense Force as bodies need to be identified
  • Requested actions to the vice environment minister and other high ranking officials – hope to link with environment ministry rescue projects getting a large sum of funds
  • Support and care for the elderly – younger ones are all out in the cleaning mission during day time leaving the elderly to do the house chores at the evacuation shelters, showing fatigue
Tokyo Headquarter Report
  • Operate 7 days from 1000 to 1800
  • Functions:  1) call center – volunteer dispatch coordination 2) inventory control – minimize dead stock of goods 3) information gathering – daily info needs to be recorded and updated to the concerned parties

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 20, 2011

Getting muddy to clear the state of mind

Japan’s famous cherry blossom is just around the corner at Volunteer Center Kawakita in Miyagi prefecture.  People are waiting for the moment of the bloom as most Japanese admire this special season as ‘fresh start’.

clean-up effort at a school

Some volunteers along with the locals are on the clean-up program at Ohkawa Junior High School. The first day was spent on removing the rubbles and mud that had been piled up at the gymnasium and school buildings. The next day was focused on the rinsing the floor.

The school is an iconic public building and has a great deal of meaning to make it clean first in the community. We hope that other places are soon to follow.

clean start

Among many volunteers, two made bigger impressions. One volunteer was vigorously cleaning on the windows of the hallway. Another was an university student that we share our work commenting, ‘What should I do with the awards and trophies? To what extent do volunteers are expected to work?’

It is easy to see that volunteers are uniting into one, beyond the different organizations that they belong in. They are all seeking the work to better assist the local people with wishes that the students return to school with joy. They are in the state of min in which nothing is impossible.

Now I recall a phrase my predecessor who oversaw the same role, ‘Cleaning mud is not just cleaning mud.. ‘ We plan to end this school clean-up today.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 14, 2011

Send more volunteers to Tome!

Japan newly coined a term ‘third wheel volunteers’ denouncing  them as troublesome and useless. Some say ‘They are using up the goods that are sent just for the disaster victims.’ or ‘This time it’s not like the ones in Kobe or Niigata. If the volunteers cannot be of any help, don’t go there.’ This is the similar sentiment that took place in 1995 Kobe earthquake. In fact at that time, some oversea aides were called off for this very reason.

We believe that volunteers are far faster and much more effective in applying the expertise during emergency than that of crippled local governments and social welfare councils. We know for fact that we are greatly appreciated by the locals even with the completely neophytes coming to the disaster field. We simply question to the people who outrage over our unstinted efforts, they probably have no idea what is happening in the field.

Volunteers’ sympathetic attempts to help the people and mutual communication help interweave the relationships and create bonds. It is true that not every volunteer is 100% compatible for the jobs required, and not every one is experienced in the real life due to their age. There are times we have never seen each other until now and many are like that. But once we are on the field, we function like a big organ with an objective, not just many people showing up doing whatever they can get their hands on.

IT’S THE SPIRIT, WE ALL WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DISASTER AREAS AND THE PEOPLE LIVE WITHIN.

That’s what it make an organization. That’s what make us move forward.

More than a month has passed. There is a myriad of places in dire needs of volunteers. They have overcome the feeling of desperation, but now lashed with loneliness and fatigue. They are saying at loud ‘Why volunteers are not coming here?’

The media, academics, and analysts are still talking irresponsibly about the ‘third wheel volunteers’. We can only sigh about their deficiency of perception for reality.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 12, 2011

Fine-combing every shelters along the affected coast

Sendai is a city most broadcast in the media for being the Miyagi prefectural capital where most of the goods were first carried in. Other relatively-large towns and villages are slowly but surely recovering over time, but many are still in dire need principally due to its remoteness. RQ, the non-profit conglomerate of nature schools and outdoor operators working on a mission of rescue ‘RQ’, are working on the 120km coastlines north of Sendai. These areas are swept with fine-comb to identify what are actually needed by over 60 volunteers based in RQ Tohoku Volunteer Center in Tome along with the local volunteers. (photo courtesy of Greenwood)

WHY DO WE BELIEVE IN WHAT WE DO?

There are numerous officially designated shelters, however, there are also unofficial, smaller-scale shelters where many victims are still at a loss without proper assistance. These people are not on the official map, thus no adequate assistance are provided. RQ is locating more and more of these ‘imbalance between shelters’ by talking face to face to the earthquake-stricken communities.

The delay and uneven distribution of official and unofficial aids are partly due to the characteristic of the quake itself. The 1995 Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake and 2004 Chuetsu  earthquake were both epicentral earthquake. This time the devastated areas spread along the whole Pacific coast of Tohoku and Kanto areas. To tackle with this issue, RQ is calling for more volunteers despite the so called ‘fear of nuclear irradiation.’ The representative of RQ Mr. Hirose says ‘We can use all the help we can get. We will continue to provide the support for volunteers that are coming into the areas, volunteers for volunteers. The nuclear threats are played up with the media, but once they step on the soil there, people immediately catch that they are much less important than stepping another day toward tomorrow.’

Since RQ has started the rescue mission, as of March 31, 140tons of goods were delivered into 60 different shelters primarily to the ones unofficial. 790 volunteers are now assisting more and more places, creating a new kind of a map. In some shelters,  now equipped with hot showers or delivery hot spring, some even started a cafe.

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO HELP ALLEVIATE THE BURDENS WHERE MOST WANTED

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 11, 2011

A whole picture unseen even after a month

Now that most of the oversea relief teams have left Japan, we are pretty much on our own to recover and reconstruct, literally from scratch. As of today, 12,915 dead and 14,921 are still missing. More than half of people perished last month were aged over 65 and over. These people lived along the coastlines of Sanriku region where high-aging were one of the prime social problems. Apparently, they did not have enough strength to escape and survive when the quake stroke. Imagine the long affected coastlines, a whole picture of the aftermath is yet to be seen.

Untouched relief efforts

Amid the chaos, Japan Ecotourism Center and its partner bodies including nature schools, outdoor land operators, as well as Japan Ecolodge Association, have united to found a group so called “RQ” or community disaster rescue center. (http://www.rq-center.net/) – only available in Japanese

It has 3 missions;

1) rescue activities implemented at the disaster sites

2) face to face support, rather than materialistic support

3) offer host stays for the disaster victims nationwide

To accomplish these missions, following volunteer centers are set up.

1) RQ headquater in Tohoku – Tome, Miyagi Prefecture (mission 1 and 3)

2) RQ Karakuwa Volunteer center – Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture (mission 1)

3) RQ Tokyo headquater – Tokyo (mission 2)

4) KEEP – Yamanashi Prefecture (mission 3)

5) Green Wood – Nagano Prefecture (mission 3)

WHY ARE NATURE SCHOOLS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATORS INVOLVED INTO THIS?

When people are put into a situation like this, survival skill is tested. We, nature guides and environmental educators,  live in harmony in the nature on daily basis, thus equipped with the skills needed to live through the tough times and help support the needed. We are community-based workers and understand the essence of life.

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

 

Posted by: japanecolodge | April 5, 2011

See where your donation money went

Japan Ecolodge Association has set up ‘Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund’ to help relieve the disaster victims on March 14, 2011, just three days after the big earthquake now known for Great East Japan Earthquake. This non-profit organization’s mission is to promote ecolodges that help conservation and improve sustainability of surrounding nature while revitalizing local economy.

international relief effort at workAs of end of March, a total of 1,039,570 yen was collected from Japan, USA, Norway, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Greece, Spain, Sweden, and Germany.
About 53% of the total or 532, 480 yen has been used by today for the following;

  1. volunteers
  2. purchase
  3. consumables
  4. Services
  5. Carbon offset
  6. Transaction

More detailed interim report can be downloaded at;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/interim%20report0329.pdf

OUR PROMISES

  1. you will get updates on our association and partners’ efforts – track where your donation money goes
  2. your contribution of every last yen will be used on relief efforts – entirely used to purchase goods or offer services
  3. count on environmental friendliness – buy local, buy green products, help revitalize the local economy

PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS for Tohoku earthquake & Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund

Choose from two payment methods

  1. International transaction to Bank of Kyoto
  2. Paypal

Please see the payment instruction (pdf) on our website;
http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/english/pdfs/payment%20instruction.pdf

WE APPRECIATE FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

« Newer Posts

Categories

%d bloggers like this: