SPECIAL vol.4 Visiting the Disaster Affected Area(Part2)
by Voices from the Field Admin - Friday, 6 January 2012, 08:11 PM

Tomoko Izumikawa, a member of the Collaborative Translation Team "Transpinoff"

I have been working on translating articles submitted to Voices from the Field by staff members of the volunteering groups working in the disaster affected area. For the first time after the disaster, I got a precious opportunity to visit the Tohoku area, see the situation with my eyes and listen to the sufferings of people with my ears. This is my report of visiting the Tohoku area for three days from October 17th to 19th, 2011.

2.What Do Disaster Affected People Need Now?
“Jobs and Independence”

The next day in Shichigahama, Ashiyu service was provided to the staff at the Volunteer Center. I met a volunteer named Ms. O there, and was impressed by her words. She has been engaged in support activities since soon after the disaster, repeatedly coming over from Nagoya.

After listening to her stories from just after the disaster up to now, I asked her,
“What do you think the disaster-affected people need most at this moment?”

“Jobs. In another word, independence.” Her reply was clear and definite.

Shichigahama Volunteer Center

Shichigahama Volunteer Center

“Our goal is for the affected people to stand up one after another and start their own lives helping each other. Our supportive activities should shift focus to facilitating this transition. The local people themselves want to do something toward their recovery, to work, to be independent, and to retrieve the life before the disaster, as soon as possible. Volunteers also have to look into the situation and find out what is really needed. We shouldn’t discourage the local people from standing on their own feet.”

Her words taught me the importance of empathy; thinking from the standpoint of the people who are being supported, and reviewing the supportive activities to meet their needs that change day by day.

Picture of Sharon Corologos
Re: SPECIAL vol.4 Visiting the Disaster Affected Area(Part2)
by Sharon Corologos - Sunday, 25 December 2011, 04:22 AM
Like Mrs. W in your earlier article, Mrs. O knows that survivors must regain control in their lives in order to really heal. Feeling independence, financially and emotionally, will truly heal. I hope that can happen soon and for everyone affected.