A severe earthquake of M 7.4 struck the western region of Guatemala on November 7, causing great damage throughout the region, including the loss of over 50 lives. Although more than a week has passed since the disaster, many citizens are still suffering greatly, with a total of 1.2 million people thought to be affected. A Peace Boat staff member travelled to Guatemala on November 12, 2012 to survey potential support for the relief efforts continuing in in San Pedro, San Marcos and surrounds. This visit and support is being conducted in coordination with the Guatemalan NGO CEIBA, a partner organisation of Peace Boat.
Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre Programme Officer Maho Takahashi participated in the Training of Trainers (ToT) for the “Sphere Project” held between October 20-26 in Seoul, Korea. The Sphere Project sets minimum standards in humanitarian response for NGOs and NPOs, aiming to improve the quality and accountability of actions taken during disaster response.
Peace Boat provided relief activity for the flooding in northern Kyushu between 15 July – 10 August 2012, in Taketa City, Oita Prefecture. 41 volunteers (with a total of 212 volunteer working days), together with many individual volunteers, visited the local disaster volunteer center run by the Social Welfare Council (hereafter referred to as “SWC”) scooped mud out of the houses and facilities, as well as cleaned the roads and street drains.
Upon completion of the volunteer activities, Peace Boat staff member Suzuki Shoichi who was in charge of the local coordination interviewed Mr Mizuno Masaya, the head of Kujyu branch of the SWC.
Peace Boat has been providing support to residents of temporary housing including publishing a community paper, cultivating vegetable gardens, making benches and planters, and more. Communicating with the residents is one of the most important things in understanding the needs for such projects.
This is a report on “Ocha-kko (tea parties)” which Peace Boat has been organizing as a space for communication more than 600 times throughout the different communities of temporary housing in the city of Ishinomaki.
Miyagi Prefecture and Ishinomaki in particular are famous for producing the delicacy sea squirts. However, the tsunami greatly affected this industry, with none able to be harvested last year. The Peace Boat fishery and coastal support team has conducted activities to support those committed to the coastal recovery, and reviving the fishing industry. This article explains the process to produce sea squirts.
A group of 3 sixth grade students from the Canadian International School Tokyo have been visiting Peace Boat and learning about disaster relief activities, as part of a class project to learn about NGOs and NPOs. Thank you to the students for their efforts to raise awareness and funds for Tohoku!
Peace Boat conducts Disaster Relief Volunteer Training both in Japan (in Tokyo and the earthquake and tsunami affected areas of Ishinomaki, Miyagi) and onboard its ship throughout global voyages. This onboard programme not only equips participants with the knowledge and skills to volunteer in a disaster situation, but also gives them first hand experience of disaster mitigation and relief programmes around the world. This video shows the programme onboard and in Cuba during Peace Boat’s 75th Global Voyage, 2012. A film by Chloe White
After losing its own premises in the tsunami, Minato Daini Junior School is now located in temporary prefabricated buildings on the grounds of another local junior school. However, none of the facilities enjoyed by the students as before are yet available. Upon request from the school, Peace Boat has worked with the PAL System Cooperative Association to provide the school with 13 child-oriented computers for lesson purposes, successfully installed on March 1.
After going to Ishinomaki as a member of Peace Boat’s advance team in March 2011, then working as a volunteer coordinator in Tokyo, Takeda Nobuhiro is now working to coordinate support for Fukushima. He himself is also from Fukushima – from Koriyama City, also deeply affected by the 3.11 disaster. This interview tells of his activities in Ishinomaki, coordinating in Tokyo, and planning ongoing support for Fukushima including youth temporary evacuation projects and opportunities for dialogue amongst citizens.
We are nearing the one year anniversary of the March 11 disasters. In this time, over 1,000 international volunteers from over 50 countries have come to Ishinomaki, together with over 10,000 Japanese volunteers, and provided much-needed assistance to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The city has made fantastic progress; and while there is still a very long way to go before full recovery, with your continued support, the city can begin to flourish once more.
This report shares some news from Ishinomaki, more information about Peace Boat volunteer work and plans for the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.