Peace Boat has started collecting donations for the purpose of providing emergency relief to people suffering in earthquake affected areas of Turkey. See here for details.
The Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre has started a monthly magazine of information from Ishinomaki, to share with people who have joined volunteer activities in Ishinomaki to date.
Although only available in Japanese, the magazine is now available online here: “Ishinomaku Tsuushin – Omoi Tendenko”
A volunteer team from the Malaysian Association of Youth Club (MAYC) spent five days in Ishinomaki between 18-22 October, working together with the local community to help support the recovery of the local fishing industry.
To date, international volunteers from 49 countries have worked together with Peace Boat.
The 20 members of the Malaysian Association of Youth Club were in their 20s-40s, and came all the way from Malaysia to contribute to supporting Japan. Having experience in disaster relief activities in their own country, they were able to play a large role in the activities, particularly supporting the recovery of the local fishing industry.
Peace Boat is now creating a weekly newspaper to be delivered to temporary housing throughout Ishinomaki as part of its relief activities. Currently it is being delivered to around 4000 households in 70 different locations. (The newspaper itself can be downloaded at the bottom of this report.)
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.
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.