[Flooding in Western Japan] Helping Hands Beyond Borders and Nationalities
During the weekend from 5th to 8th October, four volunteers from Spain, the US, and Canada participated in relief activities led by the house preservation team in Mabicho, Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture. Despite having never previously visited Okayama, or been involved in disaster relief work in Japan, their urge to help those affected by the disaster guided them to Okayama. As well as members who have lived here for some time, the relief activities were joined by a traveler on a temporary visit, and an exchange student who arrived less than two weeks ago. Their participation really surprised and impressed us!
The team and other volunteers engaged in cleaning two houses damaged by the flooding in July this year. After working together for only a short time, a great sense of teamwork developed, despite the initial language barrier. The work offered volunteers an opportunity to learn about the current situation of affected areas through first-hand accounts of the residents, and by listening directly to stories of personal experiences during the disaster. The conversations revolved around the history of the houses and families who lived there, present livelihoods, and plans for the future.
At the Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center (PBV), we consider a respect for diversity to be an important mindset for volunteers. New and creative ideas very often evolve from working with people with different backgrounds.
Many residents in flooded areas were forced to leave their homes and surrounding areas due to the disaster. There are hundreds more houses that need cleaning, and help from volunteers is still needed, until the day when the residents can return to their houses; until the day when the residents are able to say, “I am home,” and start rebuilding their communities.
We seek your support and cooperation for volunteer activities and donations. Should you be interested in volunteering, but have concerns about communicating in Japanese, please do not worry; simply contact us to discuss possible volunteer opportunities.
Donations to Disaster Relief Activities can be made via the following website: