Friday, April 01, 2011
Dropping everything to lend a hand

After all the destruction and chaos left by the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan, we've been really inspired and moved by all the stories coming in from folks assisting in the relief efforts. iReporter Michael Shiffler traveled to Japan shortly after the disaster in order to assist humanitarian groups providing relief to those affected. All the while, he has been sending us images and video from his odyssey in northern Japan.



Shiffler is a freelance photography instructor and video producer from Kihei, Hawaii. Last year he assisted in the relief efforts in Haiti by finding and GPS tagging orphanages, a skill that he felt would be useful in Japan. After the tsunami hit Japanese coastal towns, Shiffler bought a plane ticket and flew to Tokyo. "Watching the incredible footage of the tsunami damage convinced me that there would be widespread destruction. Whenever there is widespread destruction, there are always smaller groups of people who will be missed by the large relief effort."


Once arrived Shiffler spent his first day finding a team to work with while still at the airport. Through a Facebook friend, he was referred to the MeySen Academy, a Christian early child development and English language school that in conjunction with Samaritan's Purse took up the responsibility of organizing and delivering supplies and disaster relief. "The MeySen Academy is not an NGO group; they are simply a group of concerned Christians who wanted to help. The way they have stepped up and filled this vital role is nothing short of spectacular."



Over the past weeks, Shiffler has visited locations such as Matsushima, Ofunato, Baba Nakayama and Minamisanriku — a town that as Shiffler points out is still missing 10,000 of its inhabitants. "I'm essentially a location scout. I look for people who are not getting aid, assess their needs and tag their GPS location, which is then relayed to the team leader who finds or buys the needed supplies and makes the delivery within a day."



We're really proud of the work Shiffler and all the volunteers have been doing. You can keep up with him through his iReport page and through his daily blog at

April 1, 2011
Click to view larena's profile

elchueco thank you

April 2, 2011
Click to view LyndaleQ's profile

Thank you

April 9, 2011
Click to view jbilindad's profile

The Japanese just like Haitians should be given relief,aid to help them to forget their sorrows.

              Engineer JAMES DADA ORUWA 

April 23, 2011
Click to view genesislee19's profile

we should be thankful to the incoming relief which made by the different countries for the people who suffered by earthquake.


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