Summer has arrived in Tohoku, and the fishing season is here. Along the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, fishing families are working at full capacity. The most recent phase of the Peace Winds America fishing sheds program is completed - all the sheds are built and in use by their new owners. Thanks to our many donors, each shed represents a family that will be able to remain active in the fishing industry of Minamisanriku.
This week, former PWA intern Bryan is making a site visit to Tohoku, meeting with beneficiaries and project leaders. He will view firsthand the impact the sheds have made. We look forward to sharing his reports with you.
With the fishing shed program drawing to a close, we continue looking for ways to support ongoing recovery and rehabilitation. We have been following our partner Peace Winds Japan as they complete a needed senior community center in Minamisanriku. We look forward to working with them on future recovery projects.
Even during the cold Tohoku winter, Peace Winds America’s recovery efforts are moving forward. In our last report we detailed the shed construction in Takihama and Nagashizu districts of Minamisanriku. PWA expects Phase IV of our ongoing fishing sheds program to conclude this spring, with fishing sheds completed and in place for seaweed harvest. The timing will coincide well with the advent of the spring fishing season. PWA will continue to update our donors on recovery of livelihoods. We remain in active discussion with our Japan partners on the still-unmet needs of displaced tsunami survivors.
Matching Campaign for the Fourth Anniversary of the Tohoku Tsunami On Tuesday, March 10th beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time, Global Giving will be matching at 100% all donations to Tohoku recovery projects! Donors can double their contributions up to $1,000. Global Giving matching funds ($30,000) are available. Simply visit our project page on the day of the match and help our Tohoku recovery projects. PWA extends its gratitude to our donors who have continued to partner with us, long after the tsunami has receded from the media and the public eye. We are grateful as well to Global Giving for our long-term commitment.
Local Disaster Preparedness Events – Seattle and Sendai Two upcoming events will be of interest to our supporters and to partners still following Tohoku recovery. On Saturday, March 7, the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle and the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington will host Act with Japan, a panel discussion and community event revolving around strengthening communities after disaster. Information can be found here.
March 14-18, 2015 the Japan Government and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction will host the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai. PWA will be represented by Peace Winds Japan at the numerous presentations, panels, and discussions targeting lessons of Tohoku and strategies for fostering better disaster resilience.
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!
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