Japan Update: As of 9:30 a.m., 22/April, TOKYO
Today's Photo Focus
Heart to heart: A trauma team from Ishikawa Prefecture that treats people with posttraumatic stress disorder consults an evacuee at Ishinomaki City Hall, Miyagi Prefecture, on April 12. KYODO PHOTO
"What we, the heart care team, do is visit each person in the shelters or houses and ask them things like how is their blood pressure or whether they are sleeping well," Kasuga said. "By asking them about such daily things, in my experience, many began talking about the disaster."
Sumatran's poem on '04 tsunami resonates
Healing spirit: Syafwina (left), an Indonesian whose home was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami that
hit Aceh on Sumatra, reads a poem she wrote about the tragedy to evacuees at Minamisanriku,
Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday. KYODO PHOTO
MINAMISANRIKU, Miyagi Pref. — A poem by a Sumatra-born woman expressing the sadness of seeing her hometown engulfed by tsunami in 2004 recently captured the hearts of evacuees in a devastated town in Miyagi Prefecture.
" 'Gomen ne' (I'm sorry) . . . I could not stop the sea when she sent her waves that morning," Syafwina, a volunteer worker from Kyoto, said as she read out the poem in Japanese at a morale-boosting program for people sheltering in Minamisanriku.
The waters "washed away all of our dreams, destroyed our home and took us and our children away to a different world," she continued as the evacuees silently nodded or shed tears.
The town was one of those hardest hit by the tsunami last month that swept away most of their houses and left more than 1,000 residents dead or missing.
Her poem ended with the line: "If you will forgive me, I will stay as strong as before. . . . Goodbye my family. Goodbye my friends. Goodbye my loved ones. You will always live in my prayers and memories. Forever."
Syafwina, 42, wrote the poem a month after her hometown in what was then Indonesia's Aceh Province in northern Sumatra was devastated by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004. She lost her cousins, friends and a grandmother.
Syafwina, who came to Japan 12 years ago, was away from her family when her hometown was ravaged and she lost contact with relatives for three days. "I felt emptiness and sadness," she said with tears in her eyes, recalling the time when she wrote the poem.
When the mega-quake and tsunami hit Tohoku, Syafwina, a graduate student at Kyoto University, quickly signed up for a 10-day volunteer program led by the Japan Asian Association and Asian Friendship Society in the devastated areas.
Before she left Kyoto, she grabbed copies of her poem. She felt she must share "the feeling of losing everything" with the Tohoku tsunami survivors and wanted to let them know that "the world is supporting them."
"I also remembered that I was very touched by much help from Japan after the Sumatra earthquake," she said.
After the 2004 earthquake, Syafwina switched majors to postdisaster management from bioenergy. She is also engaged in education on disaster preparedness as well as ways to help disaster survivors heal.
News Source: Japan Times
Despite losing 35,000 chickens to quake, aging poultry farmer vows to start again
Kohei Furuyama cleans up an empty poultry farm in Yamamoto,
Miyagi Prefecture. (Mainichi)
YAMAMOTO, Miyagi -- A poultry farmer is determined to start again following the devastating outcome of the March 11 massive quake -- the loss of all the 35,000 chickens he was raising.
Kohei Furuyama, 77, the operator of Yamas***a Farm in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, suffered the huge loss after a power blackout suspended the heaters at his poultry farm and landslides along the roads to the farm prevented him from carrying feed to the chickens. Due to the cold and starvation, all of his chickens eventually died.
"I can't let my career end like this," said Furuyama, who has been engaged in raising poultry over the past 30 years.
The broiler chickens were kept loose inside 10 poultry pens, each measuring some 210 square meters. After the massive temblor struck the region on March 11, Furuyama used a power generator to keep the temperatures inside the poultry houses at 28 to 30 degrees Celsius and pump up well water. However, with every gas station in the area shut down he soon ran out of oil and became unable to keep the poultry houses warm. Feed was also running short.
He repeatedly asked the local government's disaster countermeasures headquarters to remove the mud from the roads, but town officials were too busy to respond to the aftermath of the devastating quake. Whenever he opened the doors of the poultry houses, chickens would come running to him squeaking loudly, but he could do nothing for them. One week after the quake, his chickens started to die one after another with no heating, feed and water.
While dead chickens are supposed to be disposed as industrial waste, Furuyama buried them in a hole he dug next to the poultry pens after obtaining permission from the local livestock health center. The entire damage cost him more than 10 million yen.
"I did such a cruel thing to my chickens. But I can't give up now as I've been raising chickens for all these years," he said.
Furuyama started to clean up the poultry pens to prepare to raise chickens again, despite a lack of any prospects for the removal of landslides from nearby roads.
News Source: Daily Mainichi