Former site of Koyo Maritime High School
“It has been a year past from the Tsunami day. Not much progress has done as PWA saw the situation here in Kesennuma. The memory of the people outside of the area is fading, but we are living in this place every day with reality. Please keep reminding American people that some people are still in hard condition and continuously fighting against the Tsunami. It will take at least ten years or so.”
- Kesennuma disaster survivor March 12th email to PWA
Japan Tsunami: The Year in Review
One year has passed since the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region of northeast Japan. Over 276,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 20,000 people lost their lives. Peace Winds America and our sister organization Peace Winds Japan brought immediate relief and recovery to the affected areas.
Three days after the tsunami PWA CEO Charles Aanenson arrived in Japan to help coordinate disaster relief with Peace Winds Japan. Peace Winds reached over 28,000 disaster survivors at evacuation centers in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, delivering over 160 tons of supplies. Peace Winds also offered disaster survivors a variety of emergency services, including communications, transportation, and medical visits.
In April 2011 families began to move from crowded evacuation centers to temporary housing units. Peace Winds delivered household supplies, including cookware, bedding, and clothes, to ease the transition for 23,000 people in Iwate Prefecture who had lost everything. In autumn Peace Winds provided heaters to nearly 8,000 families to prepare for a cold winter in poorly insulated temporary houses.
Peace Winds initiated its recovery partnerships with fishing cooperatives and local Chambers of Commerce in the spring of 2011. Since then, Peace Winds has helped clear debris from fishing ports, reopened fishing cooperatives and fish markets, supplied fishermen and fish farmers with essential equipment, and restarted Chamber offices and small businesses. In addition, Peace Winds is supporting education with equipment assistance to the temporary Koyo Maritime High School. Koyo's former facilities in Kesennuma were destroyed by the tsunami.
Working with our local partners this past year has greatly strengthened the relief and recovery response of PWA. Peace Winds America remains committed to the recovery and rebuilding of the Tohoku area and the many who continue to struggle to rebuild their lives.
PWA welcomes the opportunity to express our deepest thanks to all our donors for their commitment to disaster relief and recovery in Japan. With partners in the U.S. and in Japan, we are making a difference.