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 Sunday October 16, the “Orahono Recovery Festival – Ishinomaki, Onagawa, Higashi Matsushima” was held at the Ishinomaki City General Sports Park. Many people attended and enjoyed the lively booths and performances.
“Oraho no” translates to “Our” in the local dialect. The day was blessed with beautiful weather, and around 8,000 people joined the events including Mayor Kameyama Hiroshi of Ishinomaki, as a step taken together towards recovery. This was the first large event to be held by all three cities together in the aftermath of the disaster. When the Kawabiraki Festival was held 2 and a half months ago, volunteers were involved in coordinating much of the preparations and operations. Yet this time, this was reversed and volunteers served only a small role, with the local community taking full initiative. While much time is still needed for life to return to as it was before the disaster, the Orahono festival really demonstrated that energy, courage, and life is returning more and more to the area. The efforts of the local community to coordinate this festival are certainly going to play a great role in encouraging recovery efforts.
On October 13 the “Report on emergency relief efforts 7 months on from March 11 – ‘Creating a system to utilize volunteers’” report session was held at the JICA Global Plaza in Hiroo, Tokyo. Many guests attended the event including people who came all the way from Ishinomaki. This report covers the report session which included information from the mid-term report.
Approximately 500 people including, including representatives of media organisations, embassies and corporations, attended the event at the JICA Global Plaza. Many of the individual participants were people who had experience as volunteers in Ishinomaki and there were joyful reunions here and there prior to the commencement of the event.
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 Japanese language mid-term report for the Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre’s activities between March 11 – August 30 is now available.
We hope that all those who have been involved in supporting the relief and recovery activities until now will find this information useful.
The English language report will also be available online shortly.
On October 1, the long-standing business of the Takahashi Tokuji Store, established in 1905, recommenced business operations.
At the time of the disaster in March, a 7-meter tsunami hit the store which was producing kamaboko (minced fish products) and the store was filled with mud of 20cm in depth.
This report is about the “fire-lighting ceremony” which was held to celebrate this occasion.
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.
As the local needs change with every day, the Peace Boat volunteers are also required to adapt to developments in their varied activities. This report follows Cleaning Team Assistant Director Ichijo Kenji for a day. Mr Ichijo, known as Mantle, has been in Ishinomaki since March 21 when he travelled ahead to prepare to receive the first 50 volunteers, and since then has been 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.