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.
Apr 24, 2013

A diary from my visit to Minamisanriku in March

PWA Mari and Mr. Abe
PWA Mari and Mr. Abe

My coworker Ben and I visited Minamisanriku in early March to monitor project sites, meet with new district leaders and select shed recipients for the next phase of the project.  It was a short and intense trip, but otherwise very fulfilling.  I enjoyed meeting with all the district leaders and learning about how far they have come, and how far they have to go on their road to recovery.

We arrived in the middle of the wakeme and wakabe seaweed harvesting season, so we were served home processed seaweed everywhere we went!  Yum!

Day 1- Arriving in Tohoku.

On the day we arrived in Tohoku, it was 32 degrees and snowing. Our first stop was to meet with our local partner for the Fishing Sheds Program, Grace Mission Tohoku (GMT).  We have expanded the program to four new areas in Minamisanriku. Together with GMT we met with leaders in the four districts and announced the beneficiaries of the fishing sheds.

Takahashi-san, a leader from the Yoriki district had written PWA a letter last year.  He asked us to please help his district with sheds.   

            “…In my district, we lost 35 houses out of 45.  We have lost over 100 fishing boats.  All of our work areas have been destroyed.   It is painful to look upon our fishing port…”

When we met Takahashi-san at his home he was very happy to see us.  His first words were, “Peace Winds America! I’ve been waiting for you for a long time!”

When we announced his district’s shed beneficiaries, he was very pleased with our selection.  “These people really need a shed, and this will help them move forward little by little.  Thank you, PWA, for coming to my district.”

Day 2- Great local partner, GMT.

On our second day, we visited past shed beneficiaries.   As we met with the families, I couldn’t help but notice the trusting bond between shed recipients and our local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku. 

When I met with Kunio Abe, the district leader asked me “Where’s Akemi-san? She is such a delightful person and I really enjoyed working with her while they were building sheds in my district.”  There is great chemistry between us,” grinned Abe-san.  I knew then that PWA has a great local partner. 

Day 3 Tohoku still needs help.

As we drove around Minamisanriku, you could tell the recovery will take long time.  Where once there were houses now are vast empty stretches of land.  The tsunami not only took away people’s belongings but also erased many communities.  As time passes people will be relocated from temporary housing to new residential areas, but when and where?  People in the tsunami affected area face myriad problems ahead. 

For the fishermen, to be able to return to their livelihoods, whether harvesting fish, farming oysters or cultivating seaweed, helps them to move forward with their lives.

“Our house was swept away by the tsunami and we live in temporary housing far from the sea,” said Mr. Oikawa.  “At first we built our shed close to the ocean so we could store fishing equipment, but now we also use the shed to rest during work.  We used to have a much, much larger building big enough to store equipment as well as work.  This shed provides us with storage space and a place to invite our fishermen friends over for some hot tea.”

To them, fishing is their means of living, their way of life, and is the reason they are there.  Our sheds support more than just occupations.  They are places where neighboring fishermen bond with one another.

Thank you for your support.

Mari Poorman

Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba

Links:

Feb 28, 2013

Fishery Support Project Completion Report - Thank You!

Thank You from Shizugawa Fishing Co-op Staff
Thank You from Shizugawa Fishing Co-op Staff

Peace Winds America (PWA) thanks all the donors who have supported our Fishery Recovery Project.  This is our last project report, and we wanted to share our latest accomplishments and how you helped fishing communities in Tohoku region.

Abalone fishing traditional way:
Abalone fishing begins at dawn.  Fishermen navigate their boats to the harvest area, and catch abalone that are tightly stuck to the sea floor using water glasses and a specialized rod and hook.  Great skill is required to handle the rod while controlling the boat in order to have a good catch.  Abalone fishing is mostly done individually, and fishermen enjoy the friendly competition of the abalone harvest.

Bad weather, no boat, low market price, and harmful rumors – Nothing will keep Minamisanriku fishermen from going back to sea!
The Abalone season officially opened in November 2012.  During a normal season, there are five to six harvest days.   However each abalone harvest region only had three harvest days in 2012 due to bad weather.  

This season the abalone trading price was down 30% from previous fishing seasons.  No abalone was harvested last year due to the disaster, so abalone from other areas have taken Minamisanriku’s market share.   Moreover harmful rumors caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis must have had an influence.

Additionally many fishermen still have not been able to replace their fishing boats damaged or lost during the tsunami.  Some fishermen were willing to share their surviving or newly-acquired vessels with those without, but demand for boats overwhelmed the supply during the harvest.     

Despite fewer harvesting days and fewer boats, the two fishing cooperatives were able to harvest almost as much as in 2010 (before the tsunami)!  What a great success!

Over 600 fishermen participated in the PWA subsidy program!
A total of 571 fishermen purchased abalone equipment through the PWA subsidy program.  PWA also extended support for sea urchin equipment since it only required replacing one component of the abalone equipment.  An additional 118 fishermen took advantage of our sea urchin equipment program. 

Ultimately  the PWA equipment subsidy program played important role in this year’s harvest.   Reduced equipment costs allowed more fishermen to participate resulting in additional income from the abalone harvest.

PWA continues supporting fishermen in Minamisanriku:
Though this project is finished, Peace Winds America will continue helping fishermen in Minamisanriku.   

PWA’s successful fishing shed program is now expanding to new districts!   This project helps fishing families who lost their homes, work spaces and fishing equipment.  By providing these families with a fishing shed (their base of operations), the families are able focus their resources on livelihood recovery and stabilization.

You can support fishing families who lost everything in the disaster.  Please  visit our new project site: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/sheds-for-japan-tsunami-fishing-families

Thank You for Supporting Fishing Communities in Tsunami Affected Areas!!

Why help fishermen?
Peace Winds America has helped Minamisanriku since the immediate aftermath of the disaster.  This created a strong bond between the people in this town and PWA.  We immediately recognized the importance of supporting the fishing industry as it is the economic backbone and the livelihood for the majority of Minamisanriku’s citizens.   It was natural for PWA to continue working with them to transition from emergency relief to recovery of the area.   For two years we have been working closely with two fishing cooperatives in Minamisanriku:  Utatsu and Shizugawa.   With a good understanding of the history and culture of the fishing industry, we have been able to identify rapidly changing local needs and provide effective recovery projects.

Links:

Feb 26, 2013

Thank You from PWA Philippines Relief Team

Emergency package distribution
Emergency package distribution

THANK YOU!!   We have completed our Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) emergency response.   Your contribution provided emergency relief to 500 families and counseling and care to 100 children.

Peace Winds America, together with our Philippine local partner, Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC), Philippines, distributed relief supplies in Typhoon Pablo-affected communities in Bukidnon Province on Mindanao Island.  Our response helped families cope with the immediate impacts of the disaster and helped families struggling to recover.

Community-wide effort to help five Communities

Many organizations focused relief operations in the Compostela Valley region.  Our local partner, CDRC, initially concentrated our relief efforts in the Compostela Valley and the Davao Oriental region.  We soon recognized that five communities in Bukidnon province received very little assistance.    We identified 500 families in two cities needing immediate attention.  CDRC coordinated the relief with community members and volunteers from a local NGO and the farmer’s organization,KASAMA, packaging and distributing relief goods.   Your donations supported people in the five cities of Cabangahan, Bangcud, Campuhan, Batangan and Poblacion.

Reaching out to over 100 children with psycho-social support

CDRC provided psycho-social support for children staying at evacuation shelters.  These children had witnessed their houses being swept away by the flood and had no idea where they might be relocated.  Through counseling, including expressing their feelings through discussions and art, the children could better understand their current situation and be less anxious. 

What’s a relief package?

The PWA relief package contained basic foods items which could sustain an average family for one week at the evacuation centers.  The package included: Rice- 10kg; mongo beans--500g; dried fish--500g; sardines--four cans; cooking oil--250ml; one laundry soap bar; one blanket; and, one mattress. 

For the first three weeks after the disaster, evacuees from these five communities received only three (3) kilos of rice and noodles, and three (3) cans of sardines from the government and other groups. “Christmas was so lonely, we just slept the night away,” said one of the beneficiaries. The mattress and blanket PWA provided were much appreciated, as most of the beneficiaries were forced to sleep on the cold cement floor or on the benches of the gym.

The serious situation continues

Many families who lost houses lived by the river.  They cannot go return to their home because erosion from the flood took away their property.  “We cannot go back to the area because our community is still submerged,” one of the beneficiaries said.  “We badly needed shelter and food,” another one added.

Peace Winds America is concluding emergency relief operations for Typhoon Pablo, and yet we and our local partners will continue monitoring the situation in the typhoon-affected areas.

PWA would like to send most sincere appreciation to your generosity.  With your help, we were able to provide critical supplies to 500 families!

Thank you for helping us!
Thank you for helping us!
Psychosocial support for children
Psychosocial support for children
Relief package helps feed my family!
Relief package helps feed my family!
Beneficiary is confirmed with a ticket
Beneficiary is confirmed with a ticket

Links:

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