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Volunteers still needed in Tohoku

12 Comments

The number of volunteers has dropped in the tsunami-hit prefectures more than one year after the disaster, but there is still a demand for help, local disaster relief officials say.

On Monday, 20 volunteers visited Shichigahama town in Miyagi Prefecture to help residents rebuild and fortify their homes. In February, about 6,800 volunteers came to the prefecture. This is down from a peak of 450,000 volunteers last April, an official was quoted as saying by TBS.

"We still get many requests to help elderly people with their shopping, remove debris and so on," the official said. "I hope that students will consider spending part of their spring-summer vacation helping people here."

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12 Comments
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I want to know how I can help them rebuild their homes in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On Monday, 20 volunteers visited Shichigahama town in Miyagi Prefecture to help residents rebuild and fortify their homes. In February, about 6,800 volunteers came to the prefecture.

Is the math right? Monday would have been in March...and only 20 volunteers. February, last month, there were 6,800 volunteers? Hard to believe that this month there were only 20 volunteers when a few weeks ago, there were almost 7,000.

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Hard to believe that this month there were only 20 volunteers when a few weeks ago, there were almost 7,000

20 on one day to one town, 6,800 over the month to the prefecture. 20 a day for 30 days to (say) a dozen towns would be over 7,000. Though I don't suppose every town gets the same number of volunteers every day of the month, and I've no idea how many towns there are in the prefecture. I should imagine a bit more than a dozen.

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Thanks for the clarification, Cleo.

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The NPO's also have fewer volunteers than they had before.

Adrian - Google It's not just mud or have a look on the Foreignvolunteersjapan website they may have some info but INJM is a good place to start.

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And just wait to we here in Tokyo get whacked! We will need many many more volunteers than Tohoku!

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I worked up in the Ishinomaki area for over half a year and saw volunteer numbers drop off dramatically up to about a month ago when I left Japan. I also did an unscientific survey of over 1,000 students in Sendai universities and was shocked to find that less than 5% of them had volunteered any time from Mar 11,2011 until Feb 2012. From what I understand this is not unusual, this was a great concern and we initiated volunteer seminars and info centre in the city.

If the youth of Japan have not been spurred into action by the Tsunami and nuclear incident, I wonder what calamity can ever drag them away from the nightly dross on TV, their keitai or the web.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Volunteers are volunteers so even if we say that only 5% of Japanese students etc...actually were on the ground say in Ishinomaki etc..bless their hearts, just because one is not on the ground in a disaster area does not mean that they are not working behind the scenes, like in my case as an interpreter and translator for the non Japanese volunteers to help them communicate with the Japanese.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I imagine the cold weather of winter is the main reason. Expect the number to rise as the mercury does.

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Elbuda, you make a good point, but my point here is less than 5% of students in Sendai - you can see the tsunami area from the classroom windows. Also the survey question was not on the ground volunteering, it was any assistance/volunteering of any kind, anywhere, anytime. Elsewhere, the numbers were much lower.

The common answer to what they were doing to help was to simply continue shopping to support all of the chain stores in the city providing minimum wage jobs -- very poor response.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I am interested in volunteering over summer break. Are there suggestions for what organizations are still doing work at that time? A lot of the links I have been searching have been old.

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