The documentary, “One Step Towards Recovery – Ties Between Survivors and Volunteers” is now available on line! It is a 24-minute-long film featuring the Kawabiraki festival held in Ishinomaki this summer, interviews with local survivors, and footage of relief activities such as provision of meals, mud clearance and fishing industry support.
Pal System Consumers Cooperative Union has been carrying out relief activities since soon after the disaster, cooperating with Peace Boat in the provision of meals and dispatch of staff members as volunteers to assist mud removal and cleaning activities. Since before the earthquake, Pal System had been distributing products of the Maruto Takahashi Tokuji Shoten, however this was forced to stop after the factories were severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Yet after volunteer cleanup efforts, the products are now back for sale as part of Pal System’s “Reconstruction Assistance Project.”
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.
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.
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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The collection of the Kinoya store “Cans of Hope,” a project that many volunteers were long involved in, has been completed!
The Kinoya cans contain local seafood, and were a precious source of nourishment for many evacuees after the tsunami. Peace Boat volunteers worked with factory employees to collect and sort the 80,000 cans since June 28. The recovery of these items and the reopening of the factory will make a great difference to the livelihoods of people in Ishinomaki.
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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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The “Ishinomaki Recovery Market” was set up at the Kawabiraki Festival to sell local and traditional products of stores that had re-opened since the disaster, with proceeds of sales further contributing to recovery efforts. Another popular area was the Ishinomaki Childrens’ Play Area, set up to provide somewhere for children to enjoy themselves – still rare in Ishinomaki, where many parks cannot be used. We hope that Peace Boat was able to contribute in a small way to the revitalization of local industries through the Ishinomaki Recovery Market. Thank you so much to all of the volunteers, and particularly to the people of Ishinomaki who came to the festival and offered such warm encouragement!
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The need for many volunteers to assist relief and recovery efforts in Ishinomaki are still crucial, yet the number of volunteers has been decreasing in recent weeks. In order to encourage more volunteers to participate, Peace Boat has revised the conditions for volunteers including the transport costs, required items, meals and so on.