2013 has begun Peace Boat’s Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre’s respective projects are well underway. These projects all correspond to disaster relief, meaning that the project plan is being constantly reconsidered and revised as it is being implemented. It is important for our volunteers and also the organisation itself to remember to “think flexibly, and move according to the circumstances.” This report gives an overview of the main ongoing activities for 2013, including those which are now accepting volunteers, donations and other support.
The Chime of Hope Shopping Center was opened on 29 April this year on the grounds of the Onagawa High School, consisting of 50 shops. Peace Boat has been working together with the local community, volunteers and other groups to create commercials of the various shops in the centre. as a way to disseminate more information about the recovery process in Onagawa.
The Onagawa Temporary Shopping Avenue consists of eight shops that provide support for local residents’ daily life and employment. The shops include a florist, beauty salon, electrical shop, grocery shop and others. Peace Boat’s volunteer carpenters provided support to complete the expansion of the shopping avenue, which began operating in July 2011. As time passed, additional needs for things such as outdoor display shelves and a more cheerful interior so that more customers will visit have risen, aiming for the Shopping Avenue to sustain its business.
Little by little the work was done daily, and after a few months, the Shopping Avenue is now looking like a tiny shopping mall, with even a courtyard for holding small events. Peace Boat will continue to provide regular maintenance work, as well as installing solar power panels and insulation.
On March 13 (Tuesday), the ambassadors of Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay from GRULAC (the Latin American and Caribbean Group) visited Ishinomaki and Onagawa once again after their first visit in April last year. Impressed by the progress of recovery and the efforts of the local community and volunteers, they also expressed hope that the coordination model of Ishinomaki can be used in disaster situations worldwide.
Volunteer carpenters work to build a wooden deck for the “Onagawa Container Village Shopping Centre” in Washinokamihama, Onagawa, next to Ishinomaki City. This opened in July 2011, and is greatly supporting the lives and employment of local people. The deck was built in December-January to help deal with the cold winter and with further expansion of shops.
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.
- Activity Reports, Church World Service Asia/Pacific, cleanup, Disaster Relief, Earthquake, festival, food provision, Funnypro, headquarters, international volunteers, Ishinomaki, Japan, Kanto-Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, mud removal, Onagawa, peaceboat, Relief, Tohoku, Tsunami, Volunteer, volunteering, Volunteers
One Step Towards Recovery – Ties Between Survivors and Volunteers – Documentary showing the activities of the Peace Boat Disaster Volunteer Centre in Ishinomaki, Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. (Japanese language, subtitled in English). Documentary / 27 minutes / Director: Yamakawa Takuya September 2011 / Created by Funnypro in cooperation with Church World Service
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.
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.