NGO Peace Boat has carried out emergency relief operations for the past 20 years, delivering emergency assistance and raising funds, as well as coordinating the dispatch of experienced logisticians, interpreters and volunteer teams to disaster-affected areas in Japan and around the world.
Peace Boat’s first disaster relief efforts took place in 1995, following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in Kobe, Japan when teams of volunteers provided assistance, supporting community access to food, water and other basic supplies as well as humanitarian support.
Since then, Peace Boat has organized emergency relief operations in 15 countries around the world.
Peace Boat’s principles for relief center on providing resources in four main areas.:
The main platform of Peace Boat’s Disaster Relief Volunteer Center (PBV) is a rapid, sustained and continuous flow of volunteers to work in assisting communities affected by disaster. PBV’s emergency response operations focus on the training, deployment and coordination of volunteers in the belief that well-coordinated volunteers can provide essential practical support in the physical regeneration of disaster affected regions, and that the human solidarity they provide is a vital factor in the comprehensive recovery of the region. The key to the effectiveness of PBV’s volunteer management system is the equal emphasis that is placed on both the disaster area relief operations and the headquarter support operations, where volunteers are sourced and trained. This dual system is able to expand and contract in response to the situation and needs of the people we aim to assist.
Disaster Volunteer Management System
“I want to help” is a very human response, and many individuals seek for practical ways to lend their support in times of disaster. PBV believes that, with expert coordination and simple training, even those people without previous experience in disaster relief can be a powerful and invaluable human resource for response and recovery. Through grouping such individuals together, and providing coordination, PBV both reduces the physical, psychological and financial burdens on the volunteers and maximizes their effectiveness in the field.
Peace Boat also works with institutions such as embassies, intergovernmental organizations, corporations, universities and Chambers of Commerce, which have proved to be an invaluable rallying point for sending volunteers, generating support and donating aid.
International Volunteers: Solidarity Beyond Borders
As an international NGO, Peace Boat receives and welcomes interest from the international community wanting to participate in disaster response and recovery. The presence of international volunteers and support from overseas helps people understand that they do not face the challenges of disaster alone, and that the world is with them in their efforts to recover.
International Disaster Relief
New York, Hurricane Sandy (Oct 2012 – Apr 2013)
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of the USA. For over 6 months, Peace Boat worked in the New York City area with a local partner organization, dispatching coordinators and volunteers to assist affected communities. Volunteers were involved in both field and administrative operations, focusing mainly on the management and coordination of local volunteers and collecting and fulfilling the needs of the local residents. This has become a symbol of U.S –Japan solidarity and a model of how small teams of experienced volunteers can help local organizations fill their capacity in the surge following a disaster.
Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan (Nov 2013 – Jul 2014)
Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in November 2013, causing widespread devastation. Peace Boat dispatched experienced staff immediately to conduct field assessments and support coordination of relief efforts with a large number of domestic and international organizations that responded. With the active participation of local stakeholders, PBV and a local partner distributed emergency shelter repair kits to over 1,000 households on Biliran Island.