East Japan Earthquake    March 11, 2011

On-site Report
Mobile Kick Back Cafe #2

April 2, 2011

The mobile KBC went in 2 different teams this time around.
The firs team went to Sendai City on the 14th to visit the storage space where 96 tons of relief supplies that Samaritan's Purse and Japan International Food for the Hungry together have collected.
Both organization had offered to provide part of it to Rikuzen-Takata City.




The next day, on March 15th, the first team met with the second team who left later, but in time to meet the first team at Rikuzen-Takata City when they arrived there.


It's been over one month since the earthquake and tsunami hit the area, but it doesn't seem any different from how it was a mont ago.
There's good reason for this. The city of Rikuzen-Takata still has more than 1,000 people missing.
Even though it has been announced that the search for the missing has been terminated, firefighters still continue to venture out into the debris in search of bodies.
Because of this continued search for bodies, clean-up efforts using heavy machinery have not been able to start. The city mayor, Mr. Toba, said, "There are people still looking for their loved ones, and they are not psychologically ready for the restoration of the city to begin."


Please note that all the relief supplies given to KBC were delivered to those in need in Rikuzen-Takata.



Evacuation Center - Hirota Elementary School -

This is the second time to visit this elementary school, which has been turned into an evacuation center.
The menu this time around was meat sauce pasta.



"Spaghetti!! We haven't had it in quite a while. We have been craving for some pasta!", said the ladies with happiness.


"I've never eaten this kind of pasta here...ever!"
Of Mobile KBC's coffee, some noted, "This is great. The evacuation center finally started serving some instant coffee, but this is real coffee. You can't beat this."
There were many heart-warming comments abou the service.






Hirota is the part of Rikuzen-Takata City that sits on a peninsula and was hit from both sides by the tsunami.
The local Women's Club got together and immediately started to provide food even before relief supplies arrived in the area.

Their day at the evacuation center starts early and ends late. They gather together to provide food for the firefighters who are the first people out and about each day.

(The members of the Women's Club cooking in the kitchen of the Home EC class at the elementary school.)

3 meals are served each day to between 250 to 300 people.
The Women's Club not only makes enough for the evacuees, but also for the volunteers.

Instant ramen, rice balls, and pastries are in abundance at the evacuation center, but the women cooking are trying to come up with new variations to what they serve so that the people don't get tired of the same thing or have an unbalanced diet. This is a bit of a challenge as the relief supplies are not that diverse.
"You know, what we like is fresh vegetables. We get vegetables, but when we do, we get a lot of one type of vegetable, but we can't eat that vegetable all day every day you know?"

Coming up with new menus, all the while working with limited ingredients, waking up at 5AM every day to make breakfast, then lunch, and then dinner, all without a rest takes its toll. Fatigue has overcome or has been very close to reaching its peak for many of the ladies.

There have been many times when they were told that a group would be showing up to help cook, but then that group never shows. This repeated let down has been a discouragement to them.
Mobile KBC was the opposite. There was a communication gap, and the women cooking did not know that Mobile KBC would be arriving. As a result, they were greatly surprised when Mobile KBC showed up.

That day there was a group scheduled to help cook, but they canceled at the last minute leaving the Women's Club members with the task of coming up with something to serve the people. They had started to prepare something when they heard that Mobile KBC would be arriving shortly.


Not only is this food satisfying the evacuees, but it enables some of the hardest working people to rest for a short while.

When it came time for Mobile KBC to leave, the ladies warmly sent us off with smiles on thei faces.

 

The children at the evacuation center were very energetic; they rode unicycles, tickled some of the staff and had a good time. There was a little girl who had lost her parents, but even she did not lack energy while Mobile KBC was there with them.





 

A man talks about the current situation:
"There are many who are worrie about their future and are currently dealing with depression. There was a 30 year old man who committed suicide because he lost all 4 members of his family in the tsunami. In such hopeless situations these provisions of food help so much. Last week there was a person from Bangladesh who lives in Tokyo that came and made curry for everyone. Every weekend someone comes and serves food for us, and that is something that everyone looks forward to. Thank you very much."
"If the Tohoku area of Japan is not doing well, all of Japan is not doing well. If all of Japan is not doing well, the whole worl will be affected. I would never have been able to have this kind of perspective if it wasn't for this catastrophe."



(Women hanging laundry by the elementary school's swimming pool)

Discovery 21, the publisher of Marre's book "The Sun Will Rise Again" ("Akenai-Yoru-ha-nai"), has donated copies of this book to encourage those affected by the disaster.



Two construction workers that came to Mobile KBC to have some pasta were talked to about Marre's book and ended up taking 80 copies with them.

 


Evacuation Center - Takata Middle School -

After the pasta and coffee was served at Hirota Elementary School, Mobile KBC went to Takata Daiichi Middle School.
Banana cake, muffins, coffee, orange and apple juice.
There was an announcement made over the school's sound system that food was available at Mobile KBC and a lon line formed.





The cake was very popular and those who ate it always wanted some more.
It was overall a pleasurably satisfying effort.



On-site Report ----------------------


Kana's Hometown
A building stands in the rubble in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck the area, March 13, 2011.

Rikuzen-Takata:5,000 Homes Under Water and 15,000 People Missing

On March 12th, the Self Defense Force of Japan started its rescue efforts of most all of the households of the city of Rikuzen-Takata that has been demolished by the recent earthquakes which is estimated at 5,000. From the rescue efforts in Takata area, the most damaged area, 52 bodies were recovered on the 12th, and on the 13th, 114 more bodies, totaling 166 in the 2 days. The rescue effort, however, has been slowed because of the debris blocking all traffic to the city whose population is 23,000. According to the task force of the city, roughly 8,000 people are staying in emergency evacuated areas. The city is doing what they can to locate the the rest of the population. The City Hall, a 4-story building, was engulfed by the tsunami and out of 300 workers there, the whereabouts of 100 employees hav not been determined. Also, the city resident registry has been lost causing difficulty in identifying who the victims are.
There has been some positive news as the Self Defense Force of Japan has been successful rescuing 37 people isolated from roofs of buildings. Rescue efforts will continue. (March 13, 7:48PM(JST), NHK)



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