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.
The second half in the report following Cleaning Team Assistant Director Ichijo Kenji, who has been in Ishinomaki since March 21 and is responsible for debris clearance and home cleaning activities.
Since Peace Boat launched its relief activities in Ishinomaki, the food provision team has prepared a total of more than 100,000 meals. This report follows the Assistant Directors (ADs) who have long been working with this team, Morinaga Yoko (in charge of the kitchen) and Kitamura Kazumi (in charge of support towards self-sufficiency).
Assistant Directors are responsible for coordinating volunteers, in groups of around five persons each. Peace Boat appoints ADs for each kind of work, according to their experiences and skills. These staff work in the field long-term, and through being familiar with the changes in required relief activities play a vital role in ensuring that the work undertaken is safe, smooth and efficient.
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.
A barbecue is on the menu for today, as a new style of meal preparation. Up until now, ready-made meals were handed out to residents. This new style is where volunteers take the ingredients and equipment necessary to cook on the spot, together with residents. As the needs in the area are changing, the idea emerged that residents could regain some independence by creating an environment where they can cook what they want to eat themselves.
Short-term and weekly volunteer positions for September are now open. We are now in need of volunteers to help with diversifying needs including cleaning of graves, fishing industry support, provision of bath facilities, delivery of daily necessities to temporary housing facilities assistance with town-building activities.
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Peace Boat staff member Kobayashi Shingo (30) entered Ishinomaki together with three other colleagues on March 17, 2011. For the past five months, he has been based there working daily to build the “circle of aid” linking governmental and civilian agencies and groups there. Kobayashi was involved in the launch of the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council (IDRAC), and has been the local coordinator between various volunteer groups, the local Social Welfare Council, the City Hall and the Self Defence Force.
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Peace Boat has been carrying out its relief operations with the support of many individuals and organisations both within and outside Japan. As well as the international volunteers featured in reports on this site earlier, many members of the international community living in Japan have been greatly active in supporting the relief and recovery efforts going on since March. One such group is the Nigerian community in Japan, who gathered to support Peace Boat’s project for people moving into temporary housing in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture.
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Peace Boat’s relief activities diversifying to respond to the evolving needs of the community in the affected areas, including now supporting the moves of survivors into temporary housing, ensuring a comfortable and liveable environment. This entry details the delivery of relief goods for 94 houses Peace Boat is supporting in Onagawa, 30 km from Ishinomaki.
Peace Boat’s activities in Ishinomaki are being supported by many volunteers, including those who travel from throughout Japan and overseas to support the relief efforts. However, many members of the local community – themselves deeply affected by the earthquake and tsunami – are also joining Peace Boat’s activities. One such person is Bandai Yoshinobu, a driver who has been contributing immensely to recovery efforts in Ishinomaki by transporting many volunteers by bus to their mud-clearing work sites, or transporting mud and debris by truck.