Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery

by Peace Winds America
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Japan Earthquake Disaster Recovery
Residents participate in activities
Residents participate in activities

The earthquakes struck Kumamoto in April 2016.  Yet over 1,500 households are still living in temporary housing communities.  It is uncertain when families can leave their temporary homes, which causes undue stress and burden. This uncertainty can lead to isolation and withdrawal, especially for the elderly. 

Working with local Township Leaders, local NGOs, and volunteers, Peace Winds is providing a variety of community building and engagement activities at 18 community centers throughout the housing complexes. These events are a powerful tool in helping build communities and encouraging neighbors to care for one another. Using your generous donations, PWA has continued to help these housing communities by continuing to provide a variety of activities, including cooking, arts and crafts, massages, seasonal festivals, and mental health workshops to help residents cope with living long-term in temporary housing.

Peace Winds is continuing to provide support to pets and pet owners. Peace Winds provided funds to two pet shelters, supporting expanded facilities, improved living conditions, and increased staff and veterinary care. Peace Winds has facilitated visits between owners and their dogs over the last several months and hopes to continue providing this assistance. 

NOTE: GlobalGiving is currently matching ALL donations to Kumamoto Recovery. YES--dollar for dollar, up to $33,000! Can you help us do more for the leaders, volunteers, and the residents and their pets?      

Our sincerest gratitude -- arigatou gozaimashita!

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Pets sheltered in Dog Rescue Kumamoto.
Pets sheltered in Dog Rescue Kumamoto.

Caring for Survivors and Their Pets in the Aftermath of Kumamoto Earthquakes

In Kumamoto, Japan, hundreds of evacuees have been living in temporary housing sites for nearly a year. More than 20,000 temporary houses have been occupied and it is uncertain when the residents can rebuild their own houses and leave temporary ones due to the financial difficulties caused by the earthquakes. Peace Winds is providing stable, supportive living environments aiding the families and communities to recover long-term. Often the elderly and families need assistance and encouragement to overcome devastating setbacks. One type of assistance identified by the temporary housing leaders and residents has been pets.

Pets are an important source of comfort for the earthquake survivors, but many residents have no capacity to care for their pets. Throughout our work in Kumamoto, Peace Winds has supported pets and their owners by providing pet-friendly shelters, dog runs, and dog-training. Yet not everyone can afford to retain their animals while they rebuild their lives. The temporary housing living quarters are quite small—only 208 square feet for each family. Many families have decided to turn their dogs over to pet shelters because of their limited living space. To respond to this situation, Peace Winds has been supporting a local dog rescue organization called Dog Rescue Kumamoto.

With your thoughtful donations, Peace Winds has helped the dog shelter to expand staff, install air conditioners, and set up visits between dogs and their owners. Peace Winds also envisions the construction of more pet protection shelters and foster centers so all pets in Kumamoto will have a place to live while they await their forever home.

GlobalGiving is currently matching ALL donations, dollar for dollar, to Kumamoto--up to $33,000! We've already raised $21,000. Can you help us do more for Kumamoto evacuees and their pets who are still in need of the help?

As always you have our sincerest gratitude. 

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Rumiko and dog candy; Dog Rescue Kumamoto
Rumiko and dog candy; Dog Rescue Kumamoto

Kumamoto Earthquakes: One Year Later

On April 16, 2016, Rumiko Ohnari was pinned beneath a bookcase in her destroyed house by the earthquake that rocked Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan. The heavy piece of furniture broke Rumiko’s leg, but the rest of the family was unharmed, including her three dogs. With their home destroyed, they sought shelter, but like many in Kumamoto, the Ohnari family was rejected by numerous shelters because they had dogs.  Instead, the family slept in their car for three months until they were connected with Peace Winds. During an in-person interview at her new temporary house in Mashiki last October, Rumiko told Peace Winds, “We could not have survived without the Peace Winds shelter.”

Challenging Lives of Kumamoto Evacuees

April 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of Kumamoto Earthquakes. Peace Winds connected with Rumiko in the hope of hearing about her well-being. “We can’t make a living” were her first words over the phone. 

The stress is taking its toll--and not just on the humans. “I found that all my three dogs have lost some of their teeth. Can you believe this? Rumiko told us. Her dogs stay home all day in a tiny cage in her very small temporary house (only 208 square feet) because Rumiko works outside the home. Even on weekends, her dogs have to stay inside because the neighbors who don’t own pets complain about any dog’s behavior. Rumiko has not had to give up her dogs, but she knows others who have.

Pets Need Shelter in Kumamoto

This is a difficult situation, as pets have been an important source of comfort for earthquake survivors in Kumamoto. Many have reluctantly decided to turn their dogs over to pet shelters because of their limited living space. Now pet shelters are full. Peace Winds is supporting a local dog rescue organization called Dog Rescue Kumamoto. With just two staff, Dog Rescue Kumamoto is getting a boost of support from Peace Winds.

For those who have had to send their dogs to shelters, Peace Winds is setting up visits between dogs and their humans. Peace Winds is also supporting to hire more staff to help find “forever homes” for sheltered dogs--the Kumamoto earthquake's forgotten victims. 

GlobalGiving is currently matching ALL donations, dollar for dollar, to Kumamoto--up to $39,000! We've already raised $16,000. Can you help us do more for evacuees and their dogs?

As always you have our sincerest gratitude. 

Dog Rescue Kumamoto's shelter is an old cafe
Dog Rescue Kumamoto's shelter is an old cafe
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Christmas tree decorating
Christmas tree decorating

“There are still a lot of problems, but because people support us and help us to have a good time I have energy to keep working hard to recover.”  --Tsumori township resident at Peace Winds event

In December residents of Kumamoto’s temporary housing (now recognized by local governments as townships) gathered together to decorate Christmas trees, make holiday wreaths, and share tea and fresh-baked cookies. Peace Winds held events in three townships, reaching over 650 people. 

Peace Winds has been supporting township residents since October. Peace Winds is particularly concerned about the elderly.  Our experience in the Tohoku Great Earthquake and Tsunami taught us the disruption of social life and community networks caused by displacement is particularly hard on those over 65 years old.  We want to prevent this from happening in Kumamoto.

During interviews Peace Winds conducted in October, many residents said they were eager to forget their troubles and focus on the positive. “I want it to feel like the Christmas season and for children to create fun memories,” said one resident.  Another said, “The temporary housing is so dark; I want to brighten things up and make it cheery.”

Because of the overwhelming support of our donors on Giving Tuesday, Peace Winds was able to fulfill these wishes.  Event attendees decorated Christmas trees, ate holiday treats, and made wreaths under the tutelage of an artist Peace Winds hired. These activities prompted new connections. “I talked with someone I had never met before when I helped her learn how to make the wreath,” said one participant. These events were the best-attended events Peace Winds has hosted. Peace Winds also distributed cookies and tea to all the households in temporary housing.

To combat the social alienation and isolation that occur in temporary housing, Peace Winds is supporting the creation of residents’ associations in each township where Peace Winds is providing training and resources for 128 association leaders to help them support their residents.

In Kumamoto, the toll of stress, isolation, and related illnesses has been toxic, especially among the elderly who accounted for 90 percent of post- earthquake deaths. The temporary housing residents, particularly the elderly, have expressed their strong desire and need for community-building activities to combat isolation and stress.  Peace Winds is listening and planning seasonal events such the Doll’s Festival (Hina-Matsuri) in March, memorial events in April, summer festivals and even casual get-togethers.  Peace Winds is regularly sponsoring beautification activities, teas and dinner/lunch parties, games and exercises, sing alongs, and more.  We hear from all ages the community-building events raise spirits and help residents move forward during this difficult period. 

Thank you for partnering with Peace Winds to bring hope and joy into the families, young and old, in temporary housing.

Homemade wreaths
Homemade wreaths
Homemade cookies on the tree
Homemade cookies on the tree
Box of homemade Christmas cookies
Box of homemade Christmas cookies
Women linger to talk long after event ends
Women linger to talk long after event ends
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Distributing heating carpets while kids play
Distributing heating carpets while kids play

Peace Winds staff visited Kumamoto in late October to review its project to provide household supplies to families moving from shelters to temporary housing. Your donations allowed Peace Winds America to achieve its goal of distributing household kits to 2000 families.

Peace Winds America and Peace Winds Japan achieved this goal at the end of October providing housing kits to evacuated households in the Kumamoto Prefecture. Those kits included either a heating carpet, television, dehumidifier, or vacuum cleaner.

After distribution, Peace Winds interviewed individuals like Kimito (pictured below). Kimito, is a teenager and victim of the Kumamoto Earthquakes. He lives with his parents, four brothers, and pet dog in a temporary housing unit that is approximately 208 square feet. As the second eldest brother he’s been forced to grow up fast. Kimito is finishing high school online at night, so he can work full time at a local grocery store.

 When interviewed, Kimito expressed his sense of loss. He misses his friends and neighbors, and the community that surrounded him before the earthquake destroyed his family’s home. He worried for his hometown Mashiki. The sheer amount of destruction was so great that he feared it may never fully recover. He was thankful for the housing supplies, since the heating carpet will be especially helpful this winter.

NOTE: Global Giving is matching donations to PWA’s Kumamoto Program on November 29th, Giving Tuesday.   This 50 percent match will increase our impact. Peace Winds has planned community building events from now through the spring. Upcoming events include a holiday gathering to decorate a community Christmas tree, a craft themed gathering where residents will create holiday wreaths, and of course, several shinnenkai. This spring, Peace Winds is planning to build a dog park, playground, and a community greenhouse for the residents.

Peace Winds delivers a heating carpet to Kimito
Peace Winds delivers a heating carpet to Kimito
PWA contributes to a Mashiki community remembrance
PWA contributes to a Mashiki community remembrance
Kimito at work
Kimito at work

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Organization Information

Peace Winds America

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PWAmerica
Project Leader:
Rumi Naito
Seattle, WA - Washington United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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