SPECIAL vol.15 Smooth running of an evacuation shelter depends on support of local residents
by Voices from the Field Admin - Monday, 20 April 2015, 11:47 AM

Smooth running of an evacuation shelter depends on support of local residents

On the day of the disaster, nearly 80 to 90 victims stayed at the evacuation shelter at the Yoshidahama Branch Office, but in a month, the number decreased to 45. Two months later, on May 8th, when the victims started to move into temporary housing units, the shelter was closed and integrated into the Kokusaimura Hall.

Our evacuation shelter was fully equipped against disasters because it was built as a disaster prevention community center three years ago. Some local residents provided us with a privately-owned power generator and we operated it twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. A gas station nearby supplied gasoline in order to operate it. Drinking water was supplied and water for other daily use was drawn from the wells with the cooperation of local volunteers. Propane gas cylinders were used as a source of gas, and in case of shortage, the gas station would provide us with more. Temporary bathrooms were installed and we made the evacuation shelter physically quite convenient. In consideration of the other disaster victims in the area, we saved energy and water as much as we could and used firewood to cook. The neighbors brought us rice, seasonings, vegetable and fish, and that was of great help while we waited for the relief supplies from the local government to reach us.

Compared with other evacuation shelters, ours seemed to be substantially more replete.

We credit the day-to-day friendship among local residents for our effective management of the evacuation shelter.

Reported by Kenichi Ito (61 years old)

Address at the time of the disaster: Yoshidahama district

Current address: same with above