Beginning volunteer work in Wakabayashi Sendai（March 30）
Many volunteers from all over the country are now gathering at the Disaster Relief Center as we our accommodation of out of town volunteers is in full swing. In addition, Sendai students who had evacuated or returned home are starting to come back to the Center.
Yesterday (29th) we started our volunteer work in Ishinomaki, and today (30th) we started volunteer activities in Wakabayashi ward in Sendai.
Our work site is a 30-minute bicycle ride from the Center. Today’s work involved carrying out mud and personal belongings from houses damaged by the tsunami.
Even areas as far as 2 kilometers from the coast were struck by a 1 meter tsunami, and even after the water has receded, there remains about 20 centimeters of mud.
This work was done by 3 students from the Sendai Student Center, 5 members of a team from Tokyo (a combined group from Student Christian Fellowship and UCCJ Nishi Tokyo Church) and one student from Doshisha University, and from the afternoon, 5 young people from Waseda Hoshien Yuai Gakusha and Waseda University YMCA joined in, making a total of 14 members working.
It was considerably difficult work, which led us to realize the magnitude of the tsunami damage.
Work in the community is still not being done by the Ward Volunteer Center, and those who suffered (many are elderly) and are staying emergency shelters, are “commuting” to their homes to remove mud and organize their possessions.
“We need as many hands as possible. Please keep coming”, is what they said.
It is difficult, dirty and dangerous work, but please consider coming to labor with us to help support those who have suffered from this disaster. We welcome you to volunteer with us.
（Loading supplies and departing from the Center）
Volunteer work at Miyagino ward Volunteer Center At present in Sendai, the Social Welfare Council bridges government and residents, through 4 Disaster Volunteer Centers. We went today（29th）to the volunteer center in Miyagino Ward, and the 7 of us did the following work.
Helping those move out of Sendai：There are elderly people living alone who have had to move away from Sendai. We helped them sort their belongings, and dispose of things. A great amount of electrical items, furniture, and rubble are piled up as “earthquake garbage”.
Cleaning houses：We helped clean the home of a disabled woman who lives alone.Many people said they want someone to talk with, and I sensed that it is not only the work we are asked to do, but also communication that is important.
Providing information on emergency loans
Need for mid to long term support
The people we visited are not those who are left without any means of life, but many of them are in a vulnerable position in society, and the disaster has accentuated their difficulties. With the prolonged effects of the disaster, the type of support we gave today will become greater.
Yuusuke Yoshioka and Kimiko Akita（SCF Volunteer）
(Earthquake garbage dump・The scene at Hinodecho Park）
Today again, we worked in Shichigahama with the Sendai YMCA and folks from Lutheran Gakuin University. Going for the first time to Shichigahama, I was left speechless by what I saw of the disaster.
We first went around to each house, hearing what they needed and then distributed supplies. In some areas that were less damaged, and people were prepared, they had enough supplies, but some places needed supplies and water.
Shichigahama’s Disaster Support Center has a lot of supplies, and so I felt some frustration, and wished that they could be distributed as soon as possible. In hearing directly from the residents, I was made to think about what considerations are necessary and how we can be of help. Also there are requests from other areas as well, so I hope we can coordinate with other organizations to meet those needs as well.
（The situation in Shichigahama）
（The large quantities of relief supplies at Shihigahama Volunter Center）
（Carefully looking up residences on a map）
At Ishinomaki Eiko Kindergarten which was hit hard by the tsunami, water was restored yesterday (28th) and the kindergarten resumed today (29th).
Parents will have to drop off and pick up their children for a while.
As the playground is full of mud from the tsunami, most activities will be indoors.
Many houses in Ishinomaki do not have electricity or water, and many houses were taken away by the tsunami. There are many families who have lost their homes and are in deep sorrow. Plans for graduation and entrance ceremony are still unclear. The kindergarten principle Pastor Minoru Kobuna, after consulting with his teachers, decided to start the kindergarten even in the midst of difficulties for the sake of the children and parents. Only half of the children were able to come back on the first day, but we were able to see the smiling faces of the children after 18 days.
We at the Tohoku Disaster Relief Center started digging the mud out of Ishinomaki Kindergarten playground. We do not know how long it will take for the kindergarten to return to its original shape, but we are determined to continue to work toward that end.
We ask for your prayers and support.
Takafumi Sato（SCF Volunteer）