Peace Winds America

Our core belief is that disaster response begins with preparedness, and that both disaster preparedness and response should integrate the efforts of governments, militaries, NGOs and the private sector. By strengthening disaster preparedness and response in the Asia Pacific, PWA seeks to reduce the high human, political and economic costs of natural disasters in the Pacific Rim.
Feb 21, 2014

Critical Relief Continues in the Western Visayas

Relief Distribution on Busuanga
Relief Distribution on Busuanga

Relief on Busuanga Island: Updated Information on Typhoon Damage and Relief Activities

It is now over three months since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines.  After the initial rush of relief died down Peace Winds America has been able to work with its partners on the ground to gain a clearer picture of damages as well as relief activities.  Presently our relief remains centered on Busuanga Island (Palawan Region), a rural community in the Western Visayas far from the media spotlight still centered on Samar and Leyte.

Busuanga Island – A Picture of the Damage

Ongoing situation reports and needs assessments have brought the effects of Haiyan into sharper focus.  Through the efforts of local governments, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and the Southern Tagalog Peoples’ Resource Center (STPRC), multiple Damage, Needs, and Capabilities Assessments (DNCAs) have been carried out. The picture they paint is stark.  All 14 barangays on the island were damaged, affecting 28,640 people and rendering 4,405 families homeless. Significant damage was done to rice paddies and fishing boats as well as tourist sites (primarily scuba diving).  In the targeted communities of Salvacion, Cheey, and Buluang alone there are nearly 10,000 affected people.  Between crop damage, loss of housing, loss of major buildings (e.g., schools) and destruction of stored goods, these communities were selected for intensive relief efforts.

Disaster Relief – A National and Community Effort

PWA knows from experience that disaster relief works best when local expertise guides the procurement and provision of needed items.  In Busuanga local organizations, volunteers, businesses, and support groups helped generate the needs assessments and direct relief.  This enabled CDRC and STPRC to procure goods in Manila (they were unavailable locally), ship them via Coron, and repack and distribute them upon arrival in Busuanga.

Thanks to CDRC and STPRC efforts to obtain discounts, PWA’s relief funding provided for 1,050 families, 50 above the targeted number. In total PWA provided:

  •          210 cavans of rice (approximately 23,100 lbs.)
  •          1,015 kg of dried fish
  •          63 boxes  sardines
  •          2,100 packs cooking oil (200 ml each)
  •          1050 sleeping mat kits
  •          1050 blankets
  •          1000 sets kitchen utensils (1,000 kettles and 6,000 plates)

These goods were packed into kits and distributed by CDRC/STPRC staff as well as members of the local government and volunteers. Prior to each distribution the relief recipients were given a brief training session on emergency response and preparedness for future disasters.

Looking Ahead – Toward Recovery

The damage and needs assessments painted a picture of acute and long-term need in these communities on Busuanga.  Moving forward, there will be serious efforts in the areas of shelter and livelihoods.  Peace Winds America has committed to providing support for these recovery efforts.  Together with our partners on the ground we will explore housing repair and rebuilding, fishing boat repair, and support for rice farmers whose fields, tools, and seed stock were damaged in the Typhoon.

We thank all of our donors for their generosity.  Together we have been able to provide desperately needed relief.  Together we will continue to help these communities as they recover.

Distribution of cooking kits
Distribution of cooking kits
Disaster preparedness education
Disaster preparedness education
Jan 30, 2014

Sheds Program Continues Through Winter

Fishing Shed Site Inspection
Fishing Shed Site Inspection

With Third 3/11 Anniversary Approaching, Sheds Program Continues

Winter is typically a quiet time in the coastal regions of Tohoku.  The fishing industry consolidates and prepares for next year while harvesting winter fish catches, wakame seaweed and oysters. In these cold northerly regions, the hard-frozen ground poses a challenge for fishing, farming and construction alike. 

March 11 will mark the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  The region has made impressive strides in recovery, yet in November 2013 the Reconstruction Agency of Japan still listed 267,000 people as evacuees, most living in temporary housing. Clearly the need for housing and economic revitalization support continues and will remain needed beyond the three year mark of the disaster.

Our partners at Grace Mission Tohoku are progressing with fishing family sheds slated for Mitobe and Zaigo districts. In spite of the harsh winter weather they are working with us to select recipients and sites for the sheds. In our next report we hope to present yet another group of completed sheds and grateful fishing famlies. Alongside our other fishing industry revitalization programs, Peace Winds America is standing solidly by Tohoku fishing families, determined to remain active so long as the need for recovery persists.

As always, Peace Winds America thanks you for your support. Together, we can continue to tell the fishing community of Tohoku, "You are not forgotten."

Dec 11, 2013

Winter Update - Oysters and Port Lighting

Oyster Fishermen Behind the New Fence (Photo: PWJ)
Oyster Fishermen Behind the New Fence (Photo: PWJ)

Update from Minamisanriku

From our partners in Peace Winds Japan comes the heartening news that the wind-break fence Peace Winds America helped construct is built and doing its job admirably.  Earlier this year we heard from our partners that workers processing oysters – a job done in the cold Tohoku winter – required a fence to stay warm while they worked. The oyster fishermen and processers alike requested this facility be built to aid them as they continued on the path to economic recovery.

We are happy to report that the 45-meter fence is working as advertised and earning high marks from the fishing families in Minamisanriku.  One worker told us, “Thanks to the fence, when there is a strong windy day like today, we can work without any big obstacles! Thank you very much for your support!” We’d like to pass that message of thanks on to our donors and supporters, without whom none of this would be possible.

Next Steps and Future Projects

Peace Winds America remains committed to ongoing economic recovery for the fishing industry in Tohoku.  PWA is presently exploring a proposal to provide LED lighting for fishermen of the Utatsu fishing cooperative of Minamisanriku. Many of the ports have been rebuilt since the tsunami, but they are dark and unlit at night.  This presents difficulties for the fishermen, who worry about security and about having to work in the dark.  Working with Peace Winds Japan, PWA will help fund solar LEDs at several ports.  The solar panels on the lights will collect power during the day and keep the ports safe and brightly lit at night.

With the third anniversary of the tsunami in sight, PWA thanks our supporters again and reaffirms our commitment to the people of Tohoku.

At Work Processing the Oyster Catch
At Work Processing the Oyster Catch

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