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Overcoming the Great East Japan Earthquake

July 06, 2012

After 12 months from the earthquake disaster, the house was delighted to receive letters from the families who stayed at RMH Sendai.

Together with our ‘get well soon!’ cheers, RMHC will continue to provide a ‘Home Away From Home’ to see happy smiles of hospitalized children and their families located far away from their real home. Your ongoing support is much appreciated.


A letter from mother of Ruito Murata / Furukawa, Osaki city, Miyagi Pref.

Ruito Murata

Ruito Murata

My child was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect (hole in the heart) and pulmonary stenosis when he was only a month old. He was in the surgery room when the earthquake struck; scheduled from 2pm – 5pm, physicians were going to insert a catheter through the leg to lung and use the attached balloon to enlarge my child’s lung valve, which was narrower than normal. I was alone waiting in the medical ward, and on 2:46pm the building started to shake heavily for a long time. I wasn’t really frightened…I was more concerned with my son undergoing a surgery. Families from other wards came out to the corridor and huddled together as aftershock continued to hit the area. I also came out from the ward and saw their frightened faces, but I was alone worrying so much about my son…my husband and eldest son came with me to the hospital, but they were at RMH Sendai as the eldest son wanted to play there with my husband. Soon though, a nurse with a surgical suit came to see me and said ‘Your son is fine! We stopped the surgery for now, but will start as soon as things calm down; we are on standby electricity so don’t worry!’ After about 90 minutes from the earthquake, my son came back to his ward, still sleeping from anesthesia. The head physician came a little later and explained to me the results; “We inserted the catheter and checked the valve width, but it wasn’t too narrow so we didn’t use the balloon”, and added “If things go well, your son can go back home tomorrow’. The next day, we received doctor’s permission and left the hospital together. Going home was not easy… roads were blocked and damaged. When we entered the house, the floor was covered with fallen dishes, TV and other things with no space to put our feet down. All utilities were down, so we thought of having a simple food under a candle light, but our children didn’t take these well; so the four of us moved to the nearby meeting hall for the next 4 days.Fortunately our children slept well and had fun during the day, but even the slightest aftershock scared the eldest son (6yrs old back then). The second son, who was 2 yrs old back then, was fine; he turned 4 yrs old just last month.

Boys ARE tough! They play soldiers, and with rubber band in his hand, the second son asks me to bind his hairs before going to the kindergarten, the latest self-made fad…♪ he is getting better, with full of energy bouncing every day.


Yoji Takatori / Akaiwa city, Okayama Pref.

My grandchild was born with a serious heart disease and had to undergo a long-hour surgery; it was March 10 and he was subsequently put into ICU. When I went to see him on the next day on 11th, the ground started to shake so bad that all lifelines went down. This was the beginning of my commute between ‘RMH Sendai’ and children’s hospital. It was a period to observe and meditate about ‘life’, which was quite burdensome for me, but for some reason, I felt at ease every time when I returned toRMH. There, I met mother & son and their families who are also facing serious illness; volunteers served bread, milk, instant noodles, rice balls, and Japanese miso soup for the families. One of the mothers cooked the donated rice for us and served in a paper cup. Although the dining room had no light except from the torch, we felt warmth and comfort. I and my wife came from Okayama prefecture, but the 6 days we spent at this RMH Sendai was special and priceless experience.

Unfortunately my grandson ‘Yuto’ passed away after a very short life of 53 days. Supported by the RMHC philosophy of kindly carrying painful burdens of others and caring for one another, we can overcome this crisis and the unprecedented disaster.


Rumi Haga / Kesennuma city, Miyagi Pref.

Me and my son Yamato was in RMH Sendai when the earthquake struck. First, I thought that everything will go back to normal soon, but not anymore after listening to the radio news on the earthquake and tsunami; I was frightened. Fortunately my house is on a hill and was saved from the tsunami, but I could not contact my family members; I was so worried for the next few days. RMH Sendai had no electricity for a while but was grateful to have water supply as we could cook and use bathroom. Using the portable gas stove, pot, rice and noodles, staffs and guests cooked together. We had to stand in line for hours to buy food and gas and my child was on wheelchair, and then different people kindly donated foods and supplies; thank you all !!

My hometown was hit by the tsunami and badly destroyed; gradually stores are starting to reopen, but it will take a long time to return to where it was.


Message from Miyagi Pref. Gov.

Yoshihiro Murai, Miyagi prefecture governor

Yoshihiro Murai, Miyagi prefecture governor

The Great East Japan Earthquake halted lifeline.
and caused may difficulties for RMH Sendai, but it did overcome thanks to the support by many volunteers and staffs.
Since its opening in November 2003, RMH Sendai provided assistance to many illness children and their families, and no doubt its importance will continue to increase. Together with our local residents, Miyagi prefecture is determined to rebuild the city and industries for a ‘healthy Miyagi’ & ‘Safe & Secure Miyagi’. Let’s work as one team for the recovery.