■小川 葵 （福島県出身）
Smith College (アメリカ合衆国)
It was my first time to do volunteer work and I didn’t know what it’s like to volunteer. When I heard about Okayama’s drastic damage from the flood, I felt horrible and since many people helped when there was a disaster at Fukushima, I wanted to give back the help we got.
It has been more than a month when we went to help, so I thought that most of the need has been covered. However, when I went to Mabi area, there were many rubbles and the cleaning of houses has not been completed. The reality was worth than I thought. Moreover, when we were taking the floor panels off, we found water from the flood. There were about knee high. I was so surprised. I didn’t thought that the water was still there and surprised that recovering a house or the entire Mabi area will take such a long time.
It was just one and a half day of volunteer work, so I felt like I couldn’t help much. However, I felt so happy when people from AMDA said that a bit of help is still a help and people of “Budou-No-Ie” is thanking the work we have done.
One thing I was concerned is that there were still gaps between people who could get the help and who couldn’t. There were people who carried the rubbles by their own car, by bicycles, and by trucks. It’s evident that people who have trucks could carry the most rubbles and people who carry by bicycles can carry the least amount of rubbles. Furthermore, I believe that people who have their own business are the one who can reach the support of the governments: people who owns a nursing house, hospital, supermarket, convenience store, and other small stores. On the other hand, apartments and houses were left as when it was damaged by the flood.
In addition, I heard that there were many volunteers who want to help, but the volunteers were not allocated efficiently to the places where help is needed. There are many people who are waiting for the instructions to help. If the volunteers were allocated equally and efficiently, the recovery will soon be achieved and there will be less gap between people.
If this point is solved, I believe there will be equality between people and recovery will soon be achieved.
I have learned that even a small support can be a help for the people and recovery from the flood will take a long time. I am glad that I have done this volunteer work.