As of October 11, 7 months since the disaster, all evacuation centres of Ishinomaki City have been closed. This report introduces the situation as people move into evacuation centres, and Peace Boat plans to continue supporting the local community such as through provision of newspapers to temporary housing.
Over the past two weeks the number of visitors to the public baths, “Kizuna no yu” and “Fudou no yu” that were opened to the public on August 22 exceeded 3500 people!
In conjunction with the conclusion of the bathing facilities that had been provided by the Japanese Self Defense Forces, and upon consultation with local city hall officials, public baths were constructed by the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council Inc, with Peace Boat in charge of the operation of the baths including changing the water, cleaning and reception duties. Many people use the baths everyday, most of whom are living in evacuation centers or in the surrounding areas where infrastructure has not yet been restored.
Two new public baths, “Kizuna no yu” and “Fudou no yu,” were opened to the public in Ishinomaki on August 22.
While general infrastructure had been continually improving since the disaster and less and less people are using the bathing facilities, there are still people living in the evacuation centers and in areas where infrastructure has not yet been restored.
After much discussion with city hall officials, the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council Inc. (IDRAC), of which Peace Boat is also a member, took on the job of constructing the baths. It was decided that Peace Boat will be in charge of the operation of the baths after opening.
Peace Boat volunteers are supporting the baths launched by NGO JIM-NET for evacuees and survivors, known as the “1000 Person Bath Project.”
“People were so happy when we first opened the bath. For the majority of them, it was their first chance to bathe since the day of the earthquake. While some young people had been able to make their way to the Self Defence Force baths or to relatives’ houses further away, it was much more difficult for elderly people. Many people told us that they were finally able to warm themselves, relax, and sleep well.”