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Supporting survivor’s “Heart” through listening to their voices: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


The Noto Peninsula earthquake caused extensive damages to lifelines, including damages of buildings and water outages at many welfare facilities for people with disabilities in Ishikawa Prefecture. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief Japan) delivers necessary support through sincerely listening to the concerns and worries of facility managers and staff members.

A woman and men sitting and talking with each other

Hitomi Hanada (left) of the “Tomoe” reveals her feelings after the disaster to AAR staff members in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture

“Tomoe”, which is a community life support center that provides welfare services for people with disabilities in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, was severely damaged by the earthquake, with a part of the facility destroyed. Since the water supply had been cut off for more than two months, the staff members had to carry water drawn from a nearby river to the facility like a bucket brigade for daily use. The water finally began to run to the toilets in the facility used by people with disabilities in mid-February.

Hitomi Hanada, the representative of the “Tomoe” said, “The first priority was what to do with the users and the facility. I put off my own damaged house, and it was this March when I was finally able to start cleaning up my home.” While being survivors, the staff members of the facility had a heavy mental burden in addition to physical exhaustion as they were busy providing support to the users. She said, “There were so many things to do every day, and I was too tired to think straight. I didn’t know what to do.”

Four people talking with each other while sitting

AAR staff members discussing the next steps with staff members of the “Tomoe”

AAR staff members visited the “Tomoe” to hear about the damages and the support needs from Mrs. Hanada and other staff members. After listening to them for about an hour in a room with blue sheets draped over the damaged parts, she said, “I feel so refreshed! Just being able to talk to you really helped me feel relieved. I really appreciate that AAR is willing to work with us to figure out what we should do.”

The “Tomoe” plans to accommodate people with disabilities who are forced to live in evacuation centers, and to maintain facilities as evacuation sites in case of future disasters. AAR is considering to support their plan. AAR will continue to provide assistance while “listening” to survivor’s voice to lighten their hearts. We would like to ask for your continued support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

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