These are the living conditions for most people in Ishinomaki. Disease is beginning to spread through shelters, so people are doing everything they can to stay in what is left of their homes. But they have a huge problem! No running water, no electricity, no food...every store, restaurant, supermarket, gas station...everything in the city was covered with water and is now closed.
The next phase of helping people involves open air stores for these communities. I went with fellow members of Grace City Church to visit the city hall, where they provided us with a "guide" to help distribute food. We set out the boxes and let people come and get what they need: water, food, supplies, medicine, and clothes. The most at any one time was probably around 50 people. We also talked with them and just listened...stories too sad for me to even write.
We have partnered up with a local non-profit who hold meetings every evening (!) with volunteer leaders, sharing stories from the day and needs found, and strategizing for the next day while looking at a map. On Saturday, our community in Tsukishima is sending a 4 ton truck of supplies to the area to create an "open air store" which will be announced via radio all day today.
People have responded well to allowing us to help clean their homes and neighborhoods with them. We plan to set up foot washing stations next trip to meet a practical need and to show that we are there to serve.