NVNAD vol.1 - Report from NVNAD
by Voices from the Field Admin - Sunday, 4 September 2011, 03:38 PM

We, NVNAD, have been carrying out three projects described below, in regards to the Higashi-Nippon (Eastern Japan) Disaster. The basic principle underlying our activities is to provide relief services to the best of our ability, and to continue our activities from relief to recovery, even if it takes another one or two decades. As this is the first time to report from NVNAD, I would like to introduce our three projects.

1. Support for the victims:”Kitakara (from North) Project

At Noda Village in Iwate Prefecture, we are developing relief activities with an eye toward recovery support. As many NPOs started their activities from the southern part of the disaster-affected areas, we thought no place in the northern part should be left behind. Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefecture is in the northern part, and this happened to be the city that invited the children of Nishinomiya City, the home town of NVNAD, to spend their summer vacation after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. The children invited at that time have since grown up and shared their gratitude toward the citizens of Hachinohe with NVNAD. This led us to Hachinohe City.

From there, going down south by way of Kuji City, we came across Noda Village, whose central part including its town hall was badly damaged. We formed a network with some groups from the cities of Hachinohe and Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture as well as with individual volunteers from all over the nation, and named it “Team Kita (Northern) Rias”. The team is now working on supporting the victims living in temporary housing at Noda Village and setting the stage for discussion toward the community’s recovery.

2 Support for the evacuees: Relay of supports among Disaster-Affected Areas

Due to the accidents in the nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture, we anticipated that some people would be evacuated to Niigata Prefecture, which is in the southwest of Fukushima. Since the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake and the 2007 Chuetsu-oki Earthquake (both of which affected Niigata), we have had ties with Niigata’s Ojiya City Shiodani (a small settlement in Ojiya) and Kariwa Village. The residents in these areas want to be of some help to the evacuees from Fukushima. NVNAD, therefore, has been providing back up support from its headquarters in Nishinomiya to assist the residents in Niigata who are supporting the evacuees from Fukushima. This is a project to relay support received in one disaster affected area to the next, that is, from the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake to those of the Chuetsu Earthquake and Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, and to those of the Higashi Nippon (Eastern Japan) Disaster.

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Specifically this project started with a distribution of relief provisions but since then there has been an event in May for the local people and the evacuees from Fukushima to plant rice together, and various social events hosted by the local residents for the evacuees at the evacuation shelter. Through these activities, victims of different disasters have been supporting one another.

3. Remote support: May each one’s thoughts resonate !

When we started to raise disaster aid funds in Nishinomiya City, the hometown of NVNAD, a lot of citizens gave donations as a way to support the volunteers. One donor even firmly gripped the hand of a volunteer collecting street donation and said, “People all over Japan gave aid to us at the time of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Now I’m too old to go to the disaster-affected areas. Please try your best to help the people there.” Thanks to the warm support received from all over the country, we were able to raise huge funds.

We also assembled relief provisions with the Nishinomiya city government and the Nishinomiya Council of Social Welfare. At that time many citizens helped sort out the goods to take the burden off the recipients.

One of the missions of NVNAD is to materialize the wishes of NVNAD supporters. We accept the donations not (just) as money but as each person’s warm thoughts to the victims. We accept the relief provision not (just) as goods but also as each person’s warm thought to the victims. In this way we have sent each person’s compassion to the suffering people through the projects described above.

Report from NVNAD(Nippon Volunteer Network Active in Disaster)

Reported by Tomohide Atsumi (Research member of NVNAD)

Picture of Yue Yu
Re: NVNAD vol.1 - Report from NVNAD
by Yue Yu - Thursday, 11 August 2011, 11:05 PM
I think if the southern part of Japan,including kagoshima etc. provided some places for evacuees, it will be great!!
Picture of Sharon Corologos
Re: NVNAD vol.1 - Report from NVNAD
by Sharon Corologos - Saturday, 13 August 2011, 12:25 AM
The plan to approach the affected area from the north is a good one. And the historical and personal ties that some Nishinomiya citizens have with that region can bring emotional comfort to the victims also. It's so important the victims know they are not alone; the people of Nishinomiya will give them heartfelt support.

Today in our local newpaper (here in Vermont, USA) we read another earthquake of 5.9 magnitude struck, 114 miles north of Tokyo and off the coast of Fukushima. These aftershocks, occuring regularily, must have grave emotional consequences for the victims and for the volunteers who are trying to help.

Don't lose hope, people of Japan!