Feb 2012


Volunteers wanted for snow shoveling! (Ojiya City, Niigata Prefecture)

Due to an unusual cold wave, a record snowfall has been reported at various locations in Japan.  In Ojiya city of Niigata Prefecture, snow shoveling operations have not been able to keep up with snow accumulation. The lives of the elderly and children in the area are in danger and such conditions are casting a burden over their daily lives.

Based on such conditions, the Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center (PBV) has started recruiting volunteers to help shovel snow!

Ojiya city, where our snow shoveling operation takes place, is the city where Peace Boat provided relief efforts such as cooking hot meals for the survivors of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004. With this connection, Peace Boat also dispatched volunteers to the area in 2006 and 2007 to help residents shovel snow. The city has established a “Heavy Snow Disaster Measurement Headquarters” to manage snow removal. However, the amount of snow each household can shovel is limited, especially in the areas where the elderly population is concentrated.

Daily snow shoveling requires physical and mental strength, and causes a financial burden as it requires the purchase of shoveling tools and heating devices. Pedestrian paths for the local children to walk to kindergartens and primary schools are covered with snow, and many children are continuously forced to walk on the frozen roads, with cars weaving all over.

Peace Boat is recruiting 20-30 volunteers on a daily basis to assist in Niigata until the end of February. Volunteers are requested to first submit their applications, and make their own travel arrangements to Niigata. The minimum participation is one day (arriving on-site the night before), and we also welcome volunteers who are able to stay for longer term. Volunteers are able to decide the duration of their activities.

Please click here for more details and to apply for snow shoveling volunteers (* Please note that you must speak Japanese in order to participate in the Niigata snow shoveling relief efforts).

Below are the pictures taken by the staff members of the advance team who arrived on site on February 9.

These pictures show the volunteer accommodation on-site. A commercial shop was leased to us for volunteers to stay. We look forward to your participation!