130,000 — this is the number of nappies World Vision provided to those displaced by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.
After an unprecedented week of devastation, World Vision’s supplies of nappies and other relief items afford survivors some much needed comfort. Mrs Sachie, mother of 16-month-old Kouka, was one of those who gratefully received supplies at a refuge shelter.
Mrs Sachie explained to World Vision staff how she and Kouka escaped the catastophic impact of the tsunami. They first made their way to a refuge shelter following the earthquake, and were then forced to flee further uphill as the scale of the tsunami became apparent. After reaching safety at the top of the hill, Mrs Sachie and Kouka watched as their house was washed away. Together with thirteen of their neighbours, Kouka and her mother then endured a cold night outside without food, nappies or other supplies.
Mrs Sachie recalls the generosity of an elderly neighbour who saw that Kouka was hungry. “She gave me a candy. I chewed and broke this candy and gave it to Kouka.”
It was at dawn that officers from the fire department came and rescued the group. After a short rest at a motel, Mrs Sachie put Kouka on her back and began the walk to a refuge shelter. As they walked through a dark tunnel, her neighbours used their mobile phones to light the path. Kouka, from her place on her mother’s back, encouraged the walkers chanting “One two, one two,” in time with their steps. Finally they reached a rescue bus that brought them to a refuge shelter.
At the shelter Mrs Sachie and Kouka enjoyed hot Miso soup and milk the volunteers were able to provide nappies for Kouka. “We adults, can bear without meals and clothes for a couple of days. But it is really difficult for small children without milk and nappies,” Mrs Sachie said.
Mrs Sachie also shared her thanks with World Vision staff. “Thank you very much. I lost my house, possessions and everything else, but I am so grateful that everyone is helping us.”
World Vision’s provision of basic supplies including 9,000 blankets, 130,000 nappies, 100,000 sanitary products for women and 4,800 bottles of water, give those in shelters some much needed relief from the chaos of a disaster. In a shelter where many people have lost friends, loved ones and all their posessions, Kouka’s joyous smile brings much needed relief.