Habitat for Humanity starts clean-up and house repair activity in Japan.
Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture - Wednesday 4th May 2011.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers have travelled to the areas devastated by the 11th March earthquake and tsunami. They have been helping to repair houses and clear debris in Ofunato, northern Iwate Prefecture.
Twelve volunteers, aged 20 – 22, from university campuses across Japan, gave up their ‘Golden Week’ national holiday time to pull out wet floor insulation, tatami mats (traditional Japanese flooring) and clear mud from houses in badly affected Ofunato.
“I wanted to do more than just watch devastating pictures on TV, so I am here to do what I can to help Japan recover", said Haruka Saki, 20, a volunteer from Tokyo.
Ofunato, about 500 km. north of Tokyo, is one of the three areas most affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11th March.
The city had a thriving fishing industry until tsunami waves, up to 23 metres high, wiped thousands of houses away, and killed nearly 300 people.
Habitat for Humanity will be working in both Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures alongside partners, like All Hands Volunteers, to deliver our response operation; providing volunteers for clean-up and housing repair activity, and helping affected families to return to their homes.
At a later stage, Habitat may also be involved in distributing ‘home starter’ kits to families moving in to temporary shelter.
Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity International’s Asia-Pacific vice president, added: “With its focus on shelter, Habitat for Humanity is working with partners in Japan to provide volunteers, tools, and financial support to get families out of evacuation centers and back to their homes, so they can regain some normalcy and piece their lives back together. We need your donations to make sure Habitat can help more families.”
You can now send donations online, by calling 01295 264 240 or by post to Habitat for Humanity, 46 West Bar Street, Banbury, OXON, OX16 9RZ.
To see more photos of the volunteers working visit our Facebook page.
Photos ©Mikel Flamm/HFHI.