One Month on, Japan's Tsunami Families Find Hope Comes in a Green Box

By Shelterbox, PRNE
Sunday, April 10, 2011

HELSTON, England, April 11, 2011 - Thousands of families who lost their homes in the Japanese earthquake and
tsunami one month ago are being helped by UK-based disaster relief charity,

2,200 ShelterBoxes are now in the country and 1,000 more are en route -
enough aid for over 3,000 extended families.

John Leach, head of operations at ShelterBox said: 'Despite the hurdles
of a fuel shortage, severe aftershocks, a nuclear exclusion zone and freezing
temperatures, our team have managed to reach out to help a large number of
affected communities.

'We are particularly concerned about families still living in their cars
one month on. It's been a bitterly cold season in Japan and the health of
vulnerable groups like the elderly, ill and the very young will be suffering.
It's vital that we continue to ramp up our aid efforts and get good quality
emergency shelter and survival equipment out to those that need it.'

There are currently eight ShelterBox Response Team volunteers working in
the Sendai area. The teams are working with local authorities and Rotarians
to distribute aid to families and individuals like Toshi Iche Iwasa, an 80
year old man from Yamamoto, a town near Sendai.

Mr Iwasa had been living with two of his family members in the back of
his vehicle after losing his home in the tsunami on 11 March.

When the earthquake and tsunami struck, he was picking strawberries at
the family farm.

'The earthquake was so strong it is difficult to describe. Everything
began to shake and I took cover on the ground. When I tried to pick myself up
I couldn't and my wife was only able to crawl across the floor towards me. In
the 80 years of my life I have experienced many earthquakes but nothing like
this one.'

As soon as he heard the tsunami warning he and his wife headed straight
to his car and drove for higher ground.

'We never expected the tsunami to be the size and scale that it was. Our
home was completely destroyed; crushed by debris in the wave. Our scattered
belongings were swept out to sea.'

Mr Iwasa added he was lucky because his children and two grandchildren
made it to higher ground but their homes were also destroyed.

Since that time, they have all been living in their vehicles. Now, Mr
Iwasa and eight of his relatives are living in a ShelterBox tent.

American ShelterBox volunteer Mark Dyer said: 'It was great to move Mr
Iwasa and his family into one of our tents. He was so excited to talk to his
family and let them know they could start living together.

'He was amazed that donors from all over the world work with ShelterBox
to bring this type of lifesaving equipment to people who lose everything in a

'He just kept saying "Arigato, ShelterBox. Thank you, ShelterBox".'

Public donations are vital to ShelterBox's continuing work. To make a
donation please ring +44(0)300-0300-500 or go to
to donate online and get the latest updates on our response to disasters
around the world.


- For more information on where ShelterBox has delivered aid in the last
decade, go to


About ShelterBox

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides
emergency shelter and life-saving supplies to families around the world who
are affected by disasters. In ten short years ShelterBox have responded to
earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, typhoons
and conflict, delivering lifesaving aid to families across the globe at a
time when they need it the most.

ShelterBox aims to help the areas where the need is greatest by providing
shelter, warmth, comfort and dignity to families in the immediate aftermath
of a disaster. Each big, green ShelterBox is tailored to every disaster but
typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets,
water purification and storage equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic
tool kit, a children's activity pack and other vital items.

From the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, there is
no disaster too big or too small for ShelterBox. Simply put, if there is an
unmet need for emergency shelter, the charity will do everything in its power
to meet that need.

ShelterBox relies entirely on public donations and could not operate
without the generosity of people the world over. A box can be sponsored for
GBP590 - this takes into account the costs of all materials, packing,
storage, transport worldwide and delivery to families most in need at a time
of disaster by a team of highly trained volunteers.

Since its inception in 2000, ShelterBox has firmly established itself at
the forefront of international disaster relief, providing emergency shelter
for the people who need it most on every continent.

For all the latest information on ShelterBox's work around the world,
including ways you can help, please visit

For high resolution images you can either contact Katy Creates on +44(0)1326-569782 or KatyC at or go to For more information on ShelterBox please contact Katy Creates on +44
(0)1326 569782 or 0044 (0)7584 489194.

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