Activity Summary: Typhoon Relief in Iwaki, Fukushima
A team from Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) set up a base in Iwaki city, Fukushima to support those affected by Typhoon Hagibis (No. 19) on October 2019. A wide range of relief activities have been implemented by PBV since October 14. Some of the activities have been completed while other projects have been handed over to the local residents. The PBV base in Iwaki was closed at the end of March, but we will continue our relief efforts through regular visits.
Through PBV, 175 volunteers participated in various activities over the course of 170 days. Taking this opportunity, we would like to thank all the volunteers for their hard work, as well as to those who offered their generous support remotely. The region still needs support to make a full recovery, and we hope that many people will stay connected to the region.
The following is a summary of the PBV’s projects in Iwaki.
◆Operational support to Iwaki Disaster Volunteer Center (Iwaki Disaster VC)
PBV supported the disaster volunteer center which was managed by the Iwaki City Council of Social Welfare with onsite surveys and volunteer-resident matching services amongst others. The volunteer center was closed in late February, and now a
permanent volunteer center offers consultation services for the residents.
- Total number of volunteers participating in activities at the Iwaki Disaster VC: 10,185
- Number of projects conducted by the Iwaki Disaster VC: 953
◆House cleaning project
PBV volunteers implemented a cleaning project for houses, community centers, and farmland affected by the floods. The projects were carried out in partnership with other support organizations and volunteer groups. We also worked with local volunteer firefighters for projects requiring technical skills. PBV donated tools and equipment to the communities so that the local volunteers can continue their support activities when needed.
- Number of PBV volunteers participating in house-cleaning: 1,085
- Number of houses PBV cleaned: 190
PBV carried out number of workshops offering advice to the residents on how to deal with flooded and moldy houses. Some of the workshops took place in buildings damaged by the floods, so that residents could then themselves learn how to manage the damaged areas. We also distributed flyers to raise awareness amongst residents the importance of checking the condition of their homes.
- Total number of workshops: 11
- Total number of participants: approximately 160
◆Operational support at Evacuation Center
We provided support to the evacuees at Uchigo Community Center, which was the largest evacuation center in the city, improving their living conditions. We helped the evacuees with the installment of cardboard beds, hot-meal distribution, as well as with follow-up support after moving out from the center.
◆Hot-meal distribution project
Water outage continued for more than two weeks in some areas, and many residents were not able to cook meals in their own homes until their kitchens were cleaned and/or restored. We provided meals to such residents, as well as those who did not have access to nutritious and hot meals during the prolonged evacuation.
Community centers in the region were also affected by the floods, meaning that local residents also lost the capacity to gather and hold social events. PBV organized regular salon activities in two areas, where the residents could meet, relax and exchange information with their neighbors. The residents have now taken the initiative in organizing these activities in the two areas, specifically Shimo Yoshima and Shimo Hirakubo. Although these activities are now suspended to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the residents are looking forward to the next occasion.
- Number of times: 54
- Number of residents participated: Approximately 2,251
◆Photo cleaning project
PBV conduced workshops for the residents to rescue photos damaged by the flooding and cleaned photo albums for those unable to do so themselves. We’ll never forget the happy smiles of the residents who received their cleaned photos!
- Number of workshops: 5
- Number of workshop participants: 20
- Photos cleaned: 5,920 photos/ 113 albums
◆Provision of items to community centers
Recovery of community centers are still in progress with support from the local authorities. However, this support does not cover the cost of items required for community activities, such as furniture and electrical appliances. PBV provided the centers with these items and will continue helping them for a full recovery.
- Number of centers supported: 6
During our activities in Iwaki, we received so many positive comments from the residents like “thank you”, “pleasure to meet you” and “please come back”. Such positive feedback is the result of the efforts made by each and every volunteer who always considered how best they could support the person in such challenging circumstances. These activities were made possible with the support from all over Japan and across the globe.
Finally, we would like to send our heartfelt gratitude to the people in Iwaki for having us.
We will continue our support towards a full recovery while tackling upcoming challenges one by one. We seek your continued support and cooperation in the future.