A small crew of us recently went on the first of many trips up to the Tohoku cities of Ishinomaki and Onagawa to visit with the victims, help with what we could and provide them with new family photo alums. It was a huge success and we are looking for supporters now. If you want to help out and see one way your contribution can help, please contact us or visit http://photohoku.org
In an impending distaster, with just minutes to evacuate, what one treasure would you take with you?
People always answer the same: Photos
Why Photos? Because everything else is replaceable.
Photos are our live’s true treasures. They serve us as our memories by chronicling the happy moments of younger days, marking important milestones in our children’s lives, reminding us of loved ones lost. We collect them over the years and assemble them into photo albums which in turn become our own autobiographies.
Imagine the misfortune of a family losing a history of memories in the wake of tragedy like those victims in Japan affected by the events of March 11th. Thats what inspired us to start “Photohoku” a project to rebuild and restart family photo albums of those effected by distaster.
An officer and his wife at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, have launched a program to send unclaimed bicycles from the base to people in the Tohoku region who lost their cars and other means of transportation in the quake and tsunami disaster.
Peter Rush, 52, and his wife, Lydia, 55, spent two years at the Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture starting in 2006. The couple said they have fond memories of Tohoku and made many friends there.
Since the March 11 disasters, the couple have visited Tohoku four times to deliver carloads of relief supplies. The once-familiar landscape has totally changed, with many cars submerged in fishing ports.
The couple started to think about the many bicycles left unclaimed at the Yokosuka base.
Have you been up north yet?” is a common question, six months after the compound disasters of March 11. Over 700,000 people have not only seen first-hand the devastation wrought by the tsunami in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, they have volunteered.
While volunteers may have met with confusing and even contradictory information at first, there are now quite a few online resources to help match potential volunteers with work that still needs doing. Different government offices are running sites with volunteer information, including the graphically appealing Tasukeai Japan from the Cabinet Secretariat’s Volunteers Coordinator Office, which has general information about how to help and which towns are accepting volunteers.
I’ve just returned from three days of volunteer work in Tohoku with two colleagues, Tony and Satomi. Since having deployed with the first Embassy team to travel to the disaster area after the earthquake, I had wanted to do something to repay the kindness we were shown by local people who graciously helped us at a time of great loss. The initial period of round the clock working during the crisis was followed by a period of getting work back to normal and busily trying to ensure the Embassy’s work carried on. But the relative quiet of summer was a great opportunity to finally follow through on the desire to give something back. Tony and Satomi saw the valuable work being done by Peace Boat in Ishinomaki when they visited with Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne, coordinating over 4000 volunteers since the crisis began. We decided to join them to ensure that our time would be well spent on what the local community needed.
Making a Difference: American volunteers marked Independence Day by helping to reinforce as sense of community among Japan’s struggling survivors. NBC’s Ian William’s report, Nightly News.
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