Dec 2019


Typhoon Hagibis Situation Update: Relief activities in Iwaki

It has been two months since the occurrence of a large-scale destruction caused by Typhoon Hagibis (No. 19). Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) has been carrying out relief projects in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture for nearly 60 days. As time passes, more accurate details of the damage have been unveiled. According to a recent assessment, the number of houses damaged by the storm reaches over 9000 in Iwaki city alone. The media coverage on the disaster is surprisingly low, considering that it is one of the worst disasters in Japan since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. While so little is mentioned in national news, local people’s struggle for recovery continues. In Fukushima Prefecture, more than 460 people are still left in evacuation centers, where very limited space, privacy, freedom and homely comfort can only be provided (as of 11 December).

Currently, PBV teams organize house conservation workshop, clean damaged houses, help improving the living environment at the largest evacuation center in the city, organize hot-meal distribution and salon activities that encourage community rehabilitation, and support the local volunteer center. All these activities have been implemented with collaboration with the local authorities, residents and other support organizations, and more importantly, with the help of volunteers and donors. Taking this opportunity, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all supporters, donors and volunteers. 

Although public support has been in place, it is never sufficient for the full recovery of the livelihood and communities. Help from volunteers is indeed indispensable in the area. There are still over 100 households waiting for help from volunteers to clean the flooded houses. The cold weather of winter approaches to the affected areas, but the progress of recovery work has been slowed instead of being accelerated due to scarcity of the volunteers in Iwaki.

We seek volunteers who can work with us for more than 2 days in Iwaki to assist the residents rebuild their lives and communities. Accommodation, gears and tools are provided at the PBV volunteer base. PBV volunteer base in Iwaki will be open until the end of February except year-end/new year closure from 30th December to 2nd January.

We regularly dispatch English speaking staff to Iwaki to facilitate communication between English speaking and Japanese speaking volunteers. If you are willing to lend a hand to those in need, please do not hesitate to do so even if you are not confident in Japanese language skills! Click here for more information on the volunteering opportunity and registration process.

See you in Iwaki!