News Front Page

Friday 01 April 2011

ShelterBox's work continues throughout Japan
ShelterBox's work continues throughout Japan
Shelter, warmth and dignity is being delivered to families throughout the affected areas of Japan. This photo is in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Photograph: Mark Pearson

It is now three weeks since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami that claimed thousands of lives, destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and wiped out swathes of Japan’s north east coast.

ShelterBox arrived on the ground less than 24 hours after the earthquake struck and more than 1,500 ShelterBoxes have now been committed to the people of Japan as they begin to rebuild their lives. This aid is being sent into the country based on official request being made to ShelterBox from the Japanese authorities.

ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs) have been working closely with the Japanese authorities and Rotary districts in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures. ShelterBoxes are being distributed throughout these Prefectures to families who lost everything in the tsunami.

In the town of Ofunato, in the Iwate Prefecture, families have expressed their gratitude for the help ShelterBox is giving them.

SRT member John Diksa (FR) pictured with Kinno Masako,17, and mother Kinno Fumiko with their ShelterBox tent in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Photograph: Andy Green

17 year-old, Kinno Masako, pictured above with SRT member John Diksa (FR) and her mother Kinno Fumiko, said: ‘Before the wave came my family used to live in a house by the shore. I was in my school when the warning came and my mother was at work.

‘The first night I had no choice but to stay at the school with my mother and everyone else. When we found out the wave had taken our house we knew had nowhere to stay. Our house, and everything in it, is gone, it was right by the shore.

‘We were staying with lots of other families but now we have been lucky to be given a ShelterBox tent so we have a place to stay together.’

1,574 ShelterBoxes have now been committed to Japan and thousands more remain on standby should they be required. Alongside this, more than 10,000 of ShelterBox’s winter gloves, scarves and hats are being sent to Japan as the freezing conditions continue.

John Diksa added: ‘Families have been living in our tents for well over a week now and we’re certainly seeing life being rekindled. In the evacuation centres, where we’ve been helping the families living there, there is a fantastic sense of community with people of all ages helping each other and pulling together.’

The need for shelters to replace the evacuation centres currently in use is becoming greater as many of these centres are schools. The authorities need these schools to be empty in time for the start of the academic year which begins in April.

SRT members from France, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the UK are all currently working in the country.

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