Japanese Family Huddles in Emergency Shelter

Iwoolverton Ian Woolverton, Save the Children Media Manager

Tokyo, Japan

Monday, March 14, 2011


Save the Children's Ian Woolverton reports from Japan where he is one of several staff spearheading our relief efforts. Ian met the Takane family, who are among the thousands of families displaced by the tragic disasters in recent days. Here he shares their touching story.

Yuto Takane, 8, and his mother Mariko, siblings Aiki, 7, Kanato, 1, and newborn Amihi have sought shelter at IIzuka Primary School in Asahi City. They were made homeless by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Honshu, Japan's most densely populated island, on Friday.

YUTO_AIKI_AMIHI_KANATO_85039Yuto, Aiki and Kanato pose for the camera.
Photo Credit: Ian Wolverton

Forced to live on a classroom floor Yuto is missing his home and his friends. "I would like to be with my friends in school. I like sports and playing soccer."

"I have been living in the classroom and want to go home."

His mother Mariko is anxious for the family to return home, but there is no water supply at their house, so she cannot bathe the children.

"The problem is the water. All the water is gone, so everything is very dirty."

She is also anxious because her eldest children cannot sleep. "Before the earthquake they never minded, but now they cannot sleep."

Mariko says her children are restless and have nothing to do in the school. "They needs books, toys and DVDs to keep them happy."

Yuto's sister Aika says she would like to play but does not know whether she should since everyone is afraid. "At the weekend we play, but today we can't because everyone is sad."

Save the Children plans to establish Child Friendly Spaces in earthquake and tsunami affected areas to give children a safe place to play with their friends, while allowing parents to focus on other priorities such as registering for emergency assistance.

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