- Title: JAPAN: Iranians serve kebabs to tsunami refugees
- Date: 5th April 2011
- Summary: OTSUCHI TOWN, IWATE PREFECTURE, JAPAN (APRIL 3, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF TSUNAMI REFUGEE SHELTER REFUGEES RESTING INSIDE SHELTER WOMAN EATING INSTANT NOODLES VARIOUS OF VOLUNTEERS DISTRIBUTING RICE BALLS AND SAUSAGE BARS TO REFUGEES (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 84-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE, KIE MIURA, SAYING: "Rice balls become hard and cold in the morning, but I'm putting up with it because I'm not in a situation to complain." RICE BALL AND SAUSAGES MAN EATING RICE BALL INSIDE SHELTER FEMALE REFUGEE TOSHIKO KIKUCHI GRILLING RICE BALL ON STOVE RICE BALL WITH BEAN PASTE BEING GRILLED (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 67-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE, TOSHIKO KIKUCHI, SAYING: "I just put some Miso on the rice ball -- though it's not even real Miso -- because I'm tired of eating the same rice ball everyday." TSUNAMI DAMAGE IN TOWN CAR SUSPENDED ON TOP OF BUILDING VARIOUS OF FERRY ON TOP OF BUILDING KAMAISHI TOWN, IWATE PREFECTURE, JAPAN (APRIL 3, 2011) (REUTERS) PEOPLE QUEUEING ON STREET JAPANESE FLAG AND "IRAN" WRITTEN ON FLAG IRANIAN VOLUNTEERS SERVING KEBABS TO PEOPLE VARIOUS OF IRANIAN VOLUNTEER SLICING GRILLED CHICKEN VARIOUS OF IRANIAN VOLUNTEER STIRRING CHICKEN SOUP PEOPLE QUEUING UP FOR KEBABS (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) SECRETARY GENERAL OF LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF IRAN, MARDANI MOHAMMAD, SAYING: "People seldom have hot food in the refugee shelters here, so we came here to give them some hot food with a variety of meat and vegetables." VOLUNTEER GIVING KEBAB TO JAPANESE WOMAN (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 32-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE, ARATA TANAKA, SAYING: "I've never tasted kebab before. I'm very happy to have it here." KEBAB IN TANAKA'S HAND FEMALE REFUGEES NOBUKO OGAWA AND SUMIKO SASAKI RECEIVING KEBABS FROM VOLUNTEERS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 75-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE, SUMIKO SASAKI, SAYING: "It's a treasure... treasure." JAPANESE AND IRANIAN FLAGS
- Embargoed: 20th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Social Services / Welfare
- Reuters ID: LVAB517JSOQLKKMJU0H73J544A9C
- Story Text: For three weeks, thousands of survivors of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami have been living in shelters, eating cold meals consisting mainly of cold rice.
In some areas in Japan's northeast, the situation has gotten better for some survivors as construction of temporary housing has started and electricity and water supplies have been restored.
But in this emergency shelter in Otsuchi town, evacuees are still eating cold rice.
"Rice balls become hard and cold in the morning, but I'm putting up with it because I'm not in a situation to complain," said 84-year-old Kie Miura, who has been living with dozens of others in the evacuation centre since the March 11 double catastrophe.
Others try to make their meals more palatable with ingredients they have on hand.
Toshiko Kikuchi, another evacuee, grilled her rice ball over a fire and spread miso, or bean paste, she found in an instant noodle packet on it.
"I just put some miso on the rice ball -- though it's not even real miso -- because I'm tired of eating the same rice ball everyday," Kikuchi said.
The low-lying town of Otsuchi was levelled by the killer waves. About a tenth of 17,000 population are believed to be dead or missing. Houses, buildings and the port were reduced to rubble. Almost 6,000 survivors are staying at emergency shelters with no end to their troubles in sight.
Meanwhile in Kamaishi town, another place which was hit hard by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami waves, Iranian residents from Tokyo served kebabs to the many refugees who are staying there.
Around 30 volunteers handed out the hot meals to evacuees -- many of who had never had Iranian food before.
Organizers said they were eager to help Japan because Japan, along with other countries had provided assistance to the earthquake which hit eastern Iran in 2003, killing around 30,000 people.
"People seldom have hot food in the refugee shelters here, so we came here to give them some hot food with a variety of meat and vegetables," said Mardani Mohammad, the soup kitchen organizer and a leader of an Iranian political group Liberal Democratic Party of Iran.
Some 3,000 kebabs and bowls of chicken soup have been distributed to people, so far.
"I've never tasted kebabs before. I'm very happy to have it here," said Arata Tanaka, a 32-year-old tsunami refugee.
Some were grateful to the point of tears.
"It's a treasure... treasure," said Sumiko Sasaki, a 75-year-old Japanese woman staying at a shelter.
Around 163,710 people are now living in shelters spread out over 2,000 locations in Japan's disaster zone Questions none
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