Union Solidarity For Tsunami Victims

A report and photos from Massa at JREU. JREU is a member of the ITF-affiliated JRU (Japanese Railway Union).

Dear all

The 7th day since disaster on 17th March.

JREU and JRU have established the relief operation HQs office just after the disaster on 11 March.

Tohoku and Kanto provinces became the most devastated area. JREU have 12 regional offices, three of them in Morioka, Sendai and Mito where were damaged worst and powerful tsunami, which waves reached at the place 20 meters high, hit the Pacific Ocean side coastal towns and villages there area and ruined them.

The National Police Agency said 3,373 people were confirmed dead and 6,746 were missing but the death toll will be expected to jump further. Some 53,000 people have taken shelter at 2,600 sites in seven prefectures.

We intended to start relief activities but faced some serious difficulties because the disaster is so destructive that infrastructure of transport system, railway and main roads were partly destroyed, telephone and mobile phone were suspended, and what was worse, life lines, supply of electricity, water and gas were stopped.

Then, devastated area was isolated from Tokyo and other areas. Meanwhile, people there, who even maintain their houses, became to suffer from lack of gasoline, food, water and daily necessaries.  

On 15 March JREU sent cars loaded relief goods from Tokyo and other unaffected areas to Morioka, Sendai areas, when we first drove to Niigata, located in Japan sea side then went there taking a wide turn but we could go to Mito directory from Tokyo.

Our members now help each other not only in local communities but also in the east Japan area. Yesterday officers from Tokyo & Chiba went to local branch and shelter in Mito and delivered water and food. Today, a team of Niigata & Yokohama stayed a night in Niigata drove to Sendai and Hachiouji & Omiya went to Morioka. A car of JREU Head Office is heading to Sendai to see our members having supplies.

Because of smoke, fires spark from reactors at nuclear power plant that causes evacuate order people in the devastated area faces more difficulties.

We will fulfill what we can do to help but people living in Minami-soma City close to the Fukuhima nuclear power plant started to move to other safe area yesterday by 47 buses.

Thank you for your solidarity.

Massa Takahashi