'Mounds of Debris Everywhere' Elmhurst Volunteer Mark Dyer Is on the Ground in Japan to Aid Recovery Efforts

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 5, 2011 | Go to article overview

'Mounds of Debris Everywhere' Elmhurst Volunteer Mark Dyer Is on the Ground in Japan to Aid Recovery Efforts


Byline: Susan Dibble sdibble@dailyherald.com

By Susan Dibble

sdibble@dailyherald.com

The Daily Herald recently interviewed Mark Dyer of Elmhurst, a response team member for ShelterBox International, a relief organization that sends volunteers and aid around the world to areas hit by natural and man-made disasters. The story ran on March 24, during the same week Dyer was deployed to Japan. The following is his e-mailed report on the conditions he is finding in that country.

Q. Where are you in Japan?

A. We are operating out the Sendai area (in northeast Japan, the closest large city to where the earthquake and tsunami hit), working in different communities and areas up and down the coast. We've established seven major distribution points and then are working outward from there. We also have two other teams working out of the Iwate Prefecture north of us.

Q. What are you doing?

A. We are distributing ShelterBoxes to disaster areas and educating people on how to set up tents and use the equipment in the boxes. In the immediate days after the event, most of the victims have been living in evacuation centers where there is food, water and shelter, as the weather is still quite cold (32 to 45 degrees).

They are now starting to return to their property and begin the tasks of rebuilding, so we are moving them out into tented shelters.

Q. How are the Japanese people responding to their situation and to you and the other ShelterBox volunteers?

A. They are extremely happy we are here, and trying to help. They are also extremely cooperative with us. As a country, Japan is very well organized and prepared for disaster. The speed of their

relief agencies and government has been amazing. Japanese culture does not have a history of tents, so many people are really quite amazed at how nice and comfortable the shelters are.

Q. …

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