A Heroic Young Woman Who Saved Thousand of Lives

In our last article, the picture of the remains of the building was shown.  This mess of red beams used to be the “Disaster Prevention Center”  of Minami Sanriku Town.

Miki Endo, a 24-year old staff of the Center, stayed at her post in the building, repeating her warning, “Tsunami is approaching. Please run away fast,” until the very last moment when the gigantic tsunami struck the building and swept her and her colleagues away.

A report by the Mainichi Shimbun (Mainichi Daily News) says “she did not let go of her microphone, even during the very moment the black wave of the tsunami engulfed the city, so that every last resident could hear her warning call.”

Of the 17,000 residents of the town, 10,000 are feared to be dead, but the 7,000 survivors owe so much to Miki.

Here is the video clip from NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) World News featuring the story of Miki Endo ;

(Takashi Tonosaki, Executive Assistant, NCC-JEDRO)


2.    NHK World


"From Fukushima to the Miyagi Coast" - ACT Alliance General Secretary Visits Disaster Region of Japan (Part 3)

  After visiting the radiation fallout zone in Fukushima’s Minamisōma city, ACT General Secretary John Nduna traveled North to the Minami-Sanriku coast of Miyagi prefecture, which was devastated by last year’s tsunami.

  Welcoming Mr. Nduna and other visitors to Shizugawa, one of three ports that comprise Minami-Sanriku town, was Rev. Tatsuo NAKAZAWA.

  Rev. Nakazawa, who pastors a church in Sendai and sits as one of the directors of Tohoku HELP, has dedicated most of his time since last March to the care of Shizugawa residents.

   Like many communities along this coast, Minami-Sanriku had a strong tsunami warning system. Even so, no one was prepared for last year’s surge, which reached depths of 40 meters in some places due to the area’s cul-de-sac landscape.

   In Shizugawa the tidal wave destroyed 80% of buildings—residential and commercial. This has left the majority of people with no home, no place to work and very little to pin their hopes on.

Staff of Minami-Sanriku town’s Disaster Prevention Center, which stood at the center of Shizugawa’s commercial district, valiantly warned residents to evacuate until the tsunami struck. Waters rose above the top of the building and took all but three of their lives.

(David McIntosh, NCC-JEDRO staff)


食品放射能計測センター訪問 - ACTアライアンス総幹事ジョン・ドゥナ氏の東日本大震災被災地訪問記(その1)



ドゥナ氏の東北訪問初日は、UMCOR(合同メソジスト教会救済委員会)United Church of Canada(カナダ合同教会)EKD-DKH(ドイツ福音教会災害支援奉仕部)などACTのメンバー数団体に資金援助を受けている食品放射能計測センター訪問から始まりました。




(NCC-JEDROスタッフ ディビッド・マッキントシュ記、外崎訳)


ACT Alliance General Secretary Visits Disaster Region of Japan (Part 2)

  From Sendai Mr. Nduna traveled with his hosts to Minamisōma city, an area deeply impacted by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant accident.

   As the car approached Odaka ward, the south sector of Minamisōma that was off limits to the public until April of this year, Mr. Nduna received a dramatic illustration of a radiation “hot spot”:

   Travelling along a short stretch of road on the South slope of a low hill—a stretch that appeared no different from any other—radiation levels detected by the two hand-held geiger counters in the vehicle began to climb sharply from around 0.2 micro-Sieverts/hour(µSv/h).

   Both counters were soon beeping constantly, indicating a level higher than 0.3µSv/h, and continued to rise past 0.65µSv/h before falling off again as the landscape flattened out 2 or 3 kilometers down the road. (By comparison, the average background radiation in Tokyo is less than 0.05µSv/h.)

   Former residents of Odaka ward and some other areas, which have been re-designated as intermediate hazard zones by the government, are now allowed to visit their homes during the day, but not permitted to stay overnight.

   Rev. Saigusa explained that radiation levels have indeed fallen since last year’s accident and this offers a glimmer of hope to those who wish to return to their beloved homes, knowledge that there are still many hot spots combined with the inability to see, smell, or feel radiation, is a source of constant stress—both for evacuees wanting to return home, and for the far greater number of people who were not evacuated, but live not far from evacuated communities.

Cars remain where they were deposited by last year’s tsunami, in a Minamisōma field. Such scenes are now rare in communities farther from the nuclear accident, where fields are being restored.

 Mr. Nduna learned that one of the long-term challenges facing the people of Fukushima and Japan, is to provide effective convalescent programs for residents, especially children, of radiation risk areas. Experience painfully gained from Chernobyl suggests that a child’s metabolism can reduce radiation risk considerably after 2 or 3 weeks in a radiation-free environment.

   Even shorter periods, although less effective phisically, can work wonders to lift the spirits of children and parents oppressed by constant stress. As summer holiday season approaches, there are many short- and long-term programs being planned to give respite to radiation-affected children and families.

(David McIntosh, NCC-JEDRO staff) 


ACT Alliance General Secretary Visits Disaster Region of Japan (Part 1)

In a show of solidarity with people whose lives were shattered by last year’s earthquake-tsunami-nuclear “triple disaster” of Tōhoku (North-East) Japan, and with those working tirelessly to serve survivors, ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna traveled to Japan and the disaster region on June 11-15.

Hosting and guiding Mr. Nduna were the people of Tohoku HELP, an ecumenical agency established immediately after last year’s disaster, which has been performing and coordinating a dizzying array of relief activities in the disaster region. 

Mr. Nduna’s first day in Tōhoku began with a visit to the Food Radiation Measurement Center, which is funded by several ACT members (UMCOR, United Church of Canada, EDK-DKH).

In introducing staff and operations the Center’s supervising director, Rev. Chihiro SAIGUSA, explained that food, crop, soil water and breastmilk samples are brought in by members of the public, often from as far away as Fukushima.

(Rev. Chihiro SAIGUSA (left) and Tohoku HELP staff Ms. ENDO (right) interpret a spectrometer graph for John Nduna and Noriko LAO (UMCOR))

In addition to the challenge of handling scientific instruments and technical data, Center staff must also be prepared to attend to the complex emotional and spiritual needs of visitors, especially when measuerment results indicate cause for concern.

                                                                      (David McIntosh, NCC-JEDRO staff)





ACT アライアンス総幹事ジョン・ドゥナ氏(Mr. John Nduna, General Secretary, ACT Alliance)は去る6月11日~15日、NCCが5月にACT アライアンス(本部;スイス・ジュネーブ)に正式加盟をしたことを受けて来日されました。





翌12日~13日の2日間、ドゥナ氏は東北ヘルプに全面的なご協力をいただき、紀子ラオ氏およびJEDROスタッフのディビッド・マッキントシュと共に東日本大震災の被災地を訪問しました。 その模様は改めてご報告いたします。

14日には、東京に戻ったドゥナ氏からACT Allianceの活動内容についてプレゼンテーションをいただき、今後の協力体制について有意義な話し合いの機会を持つことが出来ました。