31st, March, 2011 ‘ Kesennuma second relief mission’

Today’s Kesennuma mission was the biggest scale ever of relief work since this ministry has started. This project was planned to reach the total of 13 different places. Among the 12 places are related with the members of our church, and plus Kesennuma Island where the regular ply has just resumed from today. We prepared the three vehicles and loaded the supplies: one in 2.75tons truck which was to go to Kissennuma Island and both the car from our church and the station wagon from the Kansai team which were to go to the remaining 12 places. Altogether 15 of us were joining this project. Although we were late for departure, we safely arrived at our destinations around 2:30p.m. Since we had too many places to distribute the supplies, we divided into the two teams to work parallel. Before separating, we quickly had a look at the Port Kesennuma, and Pastor K murmured, ‘here is a graveyard of ships…’ As he said, the huge ships, which some of them might weigh 1.000 tons, were running on the land and scorched. Although not many houses where were located near the port were collapsed since they were made of concrete, yet they were still lying in the dust. It was unforgettable that ‘the sea was unusually close to the land’ due to the land subsidence. It seemed that plenty of the sea water could enter the land at the time of flood tide. Even some part of the quay was covered by the sea water, and the water smelled out slightly by the oil floating on the water. It seemed it would take more than a year for the port to be fully retrieved.
The team which was distributing within the Kesennuma city finished their task after about two hours, though they struggled to drive due to closing of the roads. They loaded the supplies on the sitting area of a passenger boat, called ‘Himawari’, in order to deliver those supplies to Island as well. According to S captain on the boat, ‘I came to offing to protect the boat straight after the earthquake. After a while the tsunami which was like a mountain high hit. When I climbed up onto the wave, plunging the top of the boat into the wave, I felt like falling down into the valley of 10m high. The wave stroked many times, and it was very awful.’ But there were only very few captain those who could save the boat like him. Therefore, there had been almost no provision of relief supplies for the first week after the earthquake to this Kesennuma Island. An hour after we loaded every kind of supplies on the boat, such as vegetable, underwear, disposable heating product, sanitary material, winter cloth, stove, kerosene, or battery etc, we got a phone call from Mr.S who was at the disaster countermeasures office, saying that ‘we received the supplies safely!’ we were very grateful to see that the supplies we delivered will be used effectively.
On the other hand, the team which was working around the 9 places of Otani coast area and Honyoshi were driving forward, but struggled by the rough roads alongside of the coast. They finally completed their mission after three hours, facing the fear of puncture of the tire, the obstacles of the debris on the road, and the narrowed line alongside of the road which was shrunk till only 10cm, washed by the tsunami. On their way back at Senyama, both teams joined again. When they returned, there was an atmosphere of comfortable tiredness among them. We were so grateful for the great work of the 9 volunteers those who are leaving tomorrow early morning. One more thing which made us surprised on this day was that the petrol station near the Ikkan interchange were opening even in the evening, and only 10 vehicles were queuing there, since all the more there was a long queue at least 500m long in Sendai on that same day. It seemed that the situation of the petrol supply has been completely back to normal in the place where the population is relatively few within the local core city, although it was extremely costly, 166 yen per liter, probably being taken advantage of the situation…

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