An Update on Fishing Shed Construction in Minamisanriku--Tohoku
Phase IV of the Peace Winds America fishing sheds program is proceeding smoothly. This year our partners had to contend with new natural hazards in addition to the yearly freeze that poses difficulty for construction. Typhoons Phanfone and Vongfong swept across Japan dropping record amounts of rainfall and bringing powerful wind gusts. Yet our program remains on track and will deliver sheds to fourteen more fishing families--tsunami victims. In Takihama and Nagashizu districts, we have completed the shed foundations and are ready to begin construction.
Peace Winds America to date has completed over 100 fishing sheds. These semi-permanent sheds provide work and storage space for local fishermen. Our program has targeted tsunami survivors still living in temporary housing who wish to return to the fishing industry.
From Tohoku, we welcome good news! In October during the height of oyster season, the Minamisanriku fishermen in the Togura section caught particularly large, plump oysters. With many Miyagi Prefecture fishermen reporting undersized oyster catches, we are delighted that Minamisanriku will benefit from the higher prices its jumbo oysters bring. Our fishing sheds provide a base of operations to capitalize on this good news.
Gratitude at the Year End
As we bid farewell to 2014, PWA expresses its sincere gratitude to our supporters. We deeply appreciate those who have helped us keep our long-term commitment to Tohoku.
PWA Funds New Shed Construction Phase
Peace Winds America will soon kick off Phase IV of the ongoing fishing shed construction program for families in the Minamisanriku area. In partnership with the leadership in the Togura neighborhood of Minamisanriku, PWA will soon oversee construction of ten new fishing sheds. The laying of foundations will begin in early September. There remains highest demand among fishing families who lost their homes in the tsunami. Many families applied for Phase IV sheds confirming that our past shed activities have provided needed assistance and an impact on the primary industry in the region.
A Report from the Field
PWA Mari Poorman visited Tohoku recently to take stock of ongoing projects and partner activities. She reports that many of the small ports in the region (including Minamisanriku) cannot compete with larger ports for government recovery money. These ports are staffed with locals eager to resume fishing, but without outside support still lack many of the necessities to recover fully. Mari met with PWA’s local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku, implementing the sheds program, which remains busily engaged with many projects for tsunami victims still in need.
PWA Sends its Gratitude
We thank our donors for their support and for making this program possible. One very unique fishing sheds partner this July was the Seattle Mariners and the many Mariner baseball fans, who together saluted Japanese baseball. The Salute to Japanese Baseball on July 12th provided a percentage of the ticket sales to Tohoku recovery. PWA thanks Seattle supporters and the Mariners for helping launch the new fishing shed phase.
On September 1 – Disaster Prevention Day in Japan, we anticipate many will also provide support. Please continue to join others supporting PWA as we together maintain our disaster recovery efforts in Japan. Thanks.
Announcing Our New, All-in-One Project Page
PWA would like to thank all of our supporters of the fishing sheds program. We are happy to announce that this page will now be our Global Giving site for all our Tohoku recovery projects. Including the fishing sheds progam we will post updates here about our other revitalization activities, initiatives with survivors still in temporary housing, and more. In March 2011 we made a commitment to long-term relief and recovery in Tohoku. Now over three years later it is thanks to your support that we continue to honor that commitment.
Lighting up the Night in Minamisanriku Ports
We received a report from our partner in Peace Winds Japan that the Minamisanriku ports lighting project has been completed, and it looks fantatic! Six area ports received solar-powered LED lights to improve safety and security for the fishermen there: Minato, Tanoura, Ishihama, Natari, Baba, and Isatomae. Takaki Oikawa, a local fisherman, said, "The solar light helps me work better in the night and around dawn. And it is installed at the best point in the bayside where we keep our ships. In case of bad weather in the night time, we will be able to draw our ships up to the ground safely and quickly." Thanks to your help the operating hours of the local fishermen have been extended.
Fishing Sheds Phase Concludes in Togura
Our partners in Japan have finished construction of the latest round of sheds in Togura, a Minamisanriku neighborhood. A total of 21 sheds were constructed in the villages of Mitobe, Zaigo, and Tsunomia. Battling the winter cold and heavy snowfall the sheds were built, allowing each recipient family to return to work. Our implementing partner Rimpei Kozawa said, "Life goes on and there is evidence of the people’s strong will for recovery. The piers are bustling with wakame processing, and the fishermen are taking delivery of new boats." The new sheds have given the fishing families the ability to rejoin the industry. PWA is currently researching a new phase of shed construction in the area, building the success of this last program.
Thank you to our many donors! Your continued support keeps this program going!
With Need Still High, A Focus on Providing Additional Sheds
With every completed district, Peace Winds America has surveyed the results of the fishing sheds program. How have these sheds affected the lives of the recipients? What difference are we making restoring livelihoods of displaced residents? What do the district leaders say about the program?
We are pleased to report that demand for the sheds remains high - a clear sign of the value of this program. PWA has begun planning our next expansion of the fishing sheds program. Three districts are being considered: Fujihama, Nagashizu, and Terahama. These are all located in the Togura area of Minamisanriku. Our partners on the ground report that all have residents who meet our criteria for selection: they are active fishermen in the cooperatives who lost their home in the tsunami.
With your help we will be able to take advantage of the coming spring. As the snow melts and the ground in Tohoku thaws, the time is ripe for new construction. Once we have completed our assessment and selected recipients we can begin constructing these critical buildings. With over 267,000 Tohoku residents still in temporary housing, these economic revitalization projects do make a difference!
A Matching Opportunity From Global Giving
Beginning March 10th, GlobalGiving is supporting Tohoku recovery programs with a 100% match. Projects helping Tohoku are eligible, so this is an ideal opportunity to give us the momentum to keep the successful sheds project going. Your contribution will go twice as far today and may be the key to PWA providing one more family with a needed shed. Thank you for your generous support - we look forward to updating you soon with the results of our program expansion.
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."
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