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25 April 2011

Report of the Relief Headquarters for Persons with Disabilities of Tohoku-Kanto Great Earthquake

1. Progress update

3/12     Mr. Misawa, a chair person of DPI-Japan called an establishment of relief headquarters. DPI, JIL, AJU, Shodairen, Yumekaze Foundation have gather together and decided to establish relief headquarthers.  Member of AJU went to affected area with relief goods.

3/14    The first meeting at the congressional office building. Relief headquarters have established. Started relief activity.

3/19    Member of Iwaki CIL evacuated to Toyama Sunrise. (33 people)

3/22    DPI Kansai-area, JIL affiliated organizations gather for joint meeting.

3/24    Emergency in house meeting for “Relief and Recovery support for People with disabilities in affected area” with Suematu vice minister and other members of diet.

3/31    Mr. Yahata (Yumekaze Foundation) goes to Sendai-city. Focal Relief Center Miyagi start its activity.

4/6      JDF Support Center Fukushima opening ceremony.

4/7-10  Visits to affected area (by Sato, Imamura, Kodama and Kotani)

4/11    Meeting of the secretariat of Relief Headquarters

4/12     Opening ceremony of the Focal Relief Center Iwate

2.  Directors   

Director: Shoji NAKANISHI (Japan Council on Independent Living Centers)

Deputy Director: Ichiji MAKIGUCHI (Yumekaze Foundation)

This movement is called for by the following members:

  • Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI-Japan):

Satoru MISAWA, Akiyoshi YAMADA, Koji ONOUE,

Yukihiro OKUYAMA, Takushi YATSUYANAGI

  • Japan Council on Independent Living Centers (JIL):

Reiko NAGAI, Kozo HIRASHITA, Shoji NAKANISHI, Satoshi SATO

  • Tokyo Council on Independent Living Centers (TIL):

Toshihiko NOGUCHI, Akihisa YOKOYAMA, Noboru IMAMURA

  • Yumekaze Foundation: Ichiji MAKIGUCHI, Toshio KUSUNOKI

  • Kyodoren: Sakuji MATSUBA
  • Local Organizations:  Toru EDO(AJU Center for Independent Living)

Shunji KAMATA (Mainstream Association)

  • Network to promote inclusive education:

         Sayo KITAMURA, Keiko SEIKAI, Shigeru TOKUDA

3. Structure and Activity

  • 3 Focal Relief Centers and Relief Headquarters in Tokyo (JIL) + Relief Headquarters in Osaka (Yumekaze Foundation)

( 1 )        Focal Relief Center Miyagi

  1. Overview

    • Secretariat shares office with Taskett CIL.

    • Mr. Yahata from Yumekaze Foundation is managing the secretariat with about 10 volunteers.

    • Rented two apartments for Mr. Yahata and Volunteers.

    • Recruit 2-3 staff with the fund of Yumekaze Foundation.

  1. Concept for assistance

    • Accept all the requests at unconditionally.  Meet with the person face-to-face to identify the fundamental cause and take steps for countermeasure.

    • Look for persons with disabilities to ask for what kind of needs they have and work on how to respond to the needs.  It is not necessary to carry out research on how many people with disabilities in the evacuation centers and damages of their houses.

    • The situation could change drastically, so it is better to keep eye on those who said “alright” at the time of consultation.

    • The objective is not just to recover the condition as before the earthquake. Need to solve many problems existed before the earthquake, such as the use of helpers/personal assistants.

  1.   Current Relief Activity

·        Government offices and Welfare offices are not functioning. Cannot dispatch volunteers and some volunteer centers are planning to close after the completion of muds digging.  Welfare offices are placing their staff as coordinators and they do not have resources to dispatch disability-specific volunteers.  We cannot rely neither on government nor welfare office.

·        Large corporate bodies have connections to get volunteers.  It doesn’t look easy, but they are managing somehow.  Small corporate bodies have no volunteers.

·        In Niigata Prefecture, consultation support center was established 3 days after the earthquake and Iwate also planning to establish, but Miyagi doesn’t seem to be willing to do so.

·        Found many people with disabilities in evacuation centers even though they told us there is none. There are some people with invisible disabilities like stoma.

·        Council of social welfare called our office.  Welfare office also called our office. The council of social welfare calls consultation services centers à consultation services center calls for focal relief center  asking for more helpers…. It should be the other way around.

·        The more you investigate, more needs to be identified and gets more busy. 

( 2 )       Focal Relief Center Iwate

·        Headed by Ms. Imakawa, a chair of CIL Morioka. Rented new office (70m²).  Rented two apartments upstairs for housing for volunteers.

·        Plan to recruit full-time staff.  Ms. Imakawa is looking through her network.

·        Dispatch volunteers from Sendai to Morioka.

( 3 )       JDF Support Center Fukushima

·        In Fukushima only, the Focal Relief Center operates jointly with JDF.

·        The center opens on April 6th. Headed by Mr. Shiraishi.

·        Kyosaren is dispatching 15-20 staff from all over the country to stay 1-2 weeks in the affected area.  Staff is going around evacuation centers and talk to people with disabilities for research.

·        This research will be finished by 15th of April and don’t know what they will do afterwards.

( 4 )        Relief Headquarters in Tokyo (JIL)

·        Headquarters operates in JIL.

·        Currently being managed by JIL’s staff (4), volunteers (2) and a support staff from Mainstream Association (April) with the total of 8 staff.

·        Plan to recruit 2-3 full-time staff.

( 5 )       Relief Headquarters in Osaka (Yumekaze Foundation)

·        Tokyo will have scheduled black out, therefore, Osaka will also operate as a headquarters for the time being.

4.          Problem with Nuclear Plant

·        Depending on the situation with the nuclear plant, there is a possibility of mass evacuation

·        Toyama Sunrise (accessible hotel) have accepted people with disabilities from Iwaki-city, however, they will return to Fukushima on the 17th of April.  Office will dissolve from Toyama. 

·        We have asked to be able to set up again at Toyama in the case of mass evacuation.

5.        Other matters

·        People are collecting donations nationwide.  Collection of donations are going well.   

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