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.
On October 7, famous Japanese guitarist Oshio Kotaro performed a concert for local evacuation center residents at Hebita Junior High School in Ishinomaki. After Mr. Oshio finished his performance in the evening, he gave the evacuation center residents a surprise by presenting them with gifts of winter underwear and jackets as the weather is gradually getting colder. When Mr. Oshio was leaving he promised to come back and visit Ishinomaki again.
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.
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.
It is already passed the middle of August and despite hoping that the Tohoku region would soon cool down, the hot weather continues. Here in Ishinomaki, the bug spray and fly-catching paper that arrived amongst aid supplies from all over the country had somewhat of an effect on reducing the number of flies but now the number of mosquitoes is increasing.
In response to the increase of flies and mosquitoes, Peace Boat has been installing fly screens in the evacuation centers in each region. Today’s report is about the installation of these fly screens.
On August 7, the closing ceremony of the Dougenin Temple evacuation center (“Dougenin”) in Ishinomaki was held. Dougenin was established soon after the earthquake and tsunami occurred and has been helping to protect the residents of Ishinomaki ever since. The Dougenin evacuation center taught us the important lesson that in the face of disaster, “Relationships with other people and helping each other can save lives.”