Aug 2011


A good night’s sleep for the evacuation center residents – installation of fly screens

It is already passed the middle of August and despite hoping that the Tohoku region would soon cool down, the hot weather continues.
Here in Ishinomaki, the bug spray and fly-catching paper that arrived amongst aid supplies from all over the country had somewhat of an effect on reducing the number of flies but now the number of mosquitoes is increasing.
In response to the increase of flies and mosquitoes, Peace Boat has been installing fly screens in the evacuation centers in each region. Today’s report is about the installation of these fly screens.

The Sumiyoshi Elementary School evacuation center in Ishinomaki.

We received a request to do something to stop insects getting inside. Upon visiting the center the next day, it was obvious as to why this was necessary. The mesh for fly screens had been sent by the government but there was no-one with the skills to install the mesh, and no framing to attach the mesh to.

As a result, the residents of the evacuation center had used tape to attach the mesh to the windows but as you can see, insects can easily get in through large gaps in the mesh. In addition, when it rains or there are strong winds, the mesh comes off easily. The residents told us that the mesh had come off countless times and they just had to keep sticking it back up.

A group of skilled professionals amongst the Peace Boat volunteer team thought about how to fix the problems. After ten minutes of discussing various ideas, they seemed to come up with a solution and started measuring windows straight away.

The group circled the evacuation center and counting the number of windows and taking the measurements of each window. Once this was finished they hopped in the truck and drove off with the words, “Right, we’ll go and get the materials!.”

In the afternoon the group returned with materials and tools and started up a carpentry workshop in an area of the school.

Making the screens didn’t take long from this point – after all there were many other evacuation centers waiting eagerly for fly screens to be installed.
The measurements had already been completed so the volunteers moved ahead with cutting materials and putting them together according to the measurements.

A finished fly screen frame. The frames were made according to the measurements, but the pieces were put together temporarily just to make sure they fit correctly.

…And it’s a perfect fit!

The frame is wedged in to make sure that it doesn’t come off in the wind. A wooden wedge was used instead of nails or screws so as not to damage the building.

Once the frame was properly fitted, the next step was to attach the fly screen mesh with a “tacker,” a tool which is rather like a large stapler. This was done for each of the frames and many fly screens were produced.

As you can see there is a strip of sponge attached to one side of each of the frames.

The purpose of the sponge is to close the gap between the window and the frame.

And…presto! There are no gaps between the frame and the window. Not even small insects can get inside!

Then all that was left to do were some minor adjustments.

And before we knew it the fly screen installation was complete!

Installation of fly screens is quiet work but dealing with flies and mosquitoes can be quite stressful without them. We volunteers experience the same problem at the volunteer bases and so we can sympathize wholeheartedly with the residents in evacuation centers.

We want the residents of all of the evacuation centers to be able to sleep easily as soon as possible and so the Peace Boat fly screen installation team continues to produce fly screen frames as quickly as possible.

ALL PHOTOS BY [ © Ueno Yoshinori ]