Tzu Chi was the first foreign NGO that distributed relief fund in Japan. Since half a year ago, Tzu Chi has held three large relief fund distributions, benefiting 21,000 families, and is planning to distribute to 150,000 families who have been damaged by the disaster. The relief aid team departed for northeast Japan on 25 Aug to deliver care and love at the distribution.
The two distributed areas for this round of relief aid, Ofunato City of Iwate Prefecture and Minamisanriku town of Miyagi Prefecture, are both seriously damaged areas. After the earthquake, they were directly stroke by the tsunami. Over 25% of the buildings were destroyed and flattened, leaving around 3000 people dead or lost.
Once the flight arrived in Tokyo on 25 Aug, Wu Fu-Chuan, the leader of the relief aid team, and 38 volunteers from Taiwan teamed up and coordinated with the local volunteers. The volunteers from both sides have been planning for the transportation and personnel arrangement via online video meeting prior their arrival.
Chen Jin-Fa, the supervisor of the relief aid in Japan, said, "We respect every resident who comes for the relief fund. Although the amount of the relief fund is not much, it gives the residents hope for their lives and courage to go on." Chen gave an example of a Japanese elderly couple. The couple, who have survived in the tsunami, lost courage and hope when thinking about their future; therefore the husband wanted to end his life. After the encounter with Tzu Chi, he felt warm at heart and once again acquired hope and courage to go on. He said that he would want to live another 30 years. He also said that Tzu Chi has accomplished what other organization wasn't able to accomplish and that he hopes a Tzu Chi gathering place can be formed locally.
Besides the distribution, the relief aid team also signed a contract with Takenori Naganoda, the city mayor of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, on 29 Aug to sponsor the school lunch for 18 schools estimated at 126,000,000 yen (about S$1,964,050), as well as the children's bus transport fees of 28,550,000 yen (about S$445,028).