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
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

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Where Sheds are provided
Where Sheds are provided

Thank you for your support!!

Peace Winds America and our local partner are very excited to tell you that we have completed building 42 sheds in five districts in Minamisanriku.  Your contribution played a critical part supporting over 100 fishing family members who have benefited from this project.

Fishing sheds binds family:

Before fishing sheds were swept away by 3/11 tsunami along with their houses, fishermen and their family members used their shed as a workplace for processing their catch (fish, seaweed), mending fishing nets, or preparing other tools and equipment. 

Because most fishermen and their families are still living in the temporary housing where there is no room to fish processing or storing fishing tools and equipment.  Many sheds were built on the land where their houses used to stand before tsunami took it away.  Now these sheds provide a center point for all of their fishing activities.

As the wakame seaweed season ramps up soon, the families will use the shed to process and package wakame, where sometimes three generations of family sit down and work together.  PWA acknowledges the importance of the shed to a fishing family.  To make sure the families had a place to work throughout fall, our local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku worked around the clock to build sheds before harsh winter hit the area. 

Livelihood support helps energize local economy: They want sheds more than houses

Wakame seaweed harvesting is soon approaching.  In Minamisanriku, wakame seaweed farming and processing is one of the most critical income generation opportunity.  Every family member pitches in together: harvesting, cleaning, processing, and packaging to be sold.  Everyone is preparing for the harvest season to start, however, those without fishing sheds are having to do work outside.

From the field, our local partner told us that “what is most critical for many of them is that they come up to speed on their livelihood and achieve a stable income before they can take out a loan and build themselves another home.  So that is why sheds are more important than houses right now.”

The need for sheds remains  high:  PWA will expand the shed program to four additional districts!!

Still many fishing families are without sheds.  A few fishermen areusing tents as makeshift sheds, but this measure is not secure to store their valuable equipment nor does it provide the essential  working environment.

PWA and our local partner have identified four additional districts in Utatsu region where the need for fishing sheds is high: Yoriki, Isatomae, Minato and Tanoura districts.  These four areas were  suffered the same magnitude of damage as our previously supported districts.

PWA hopes you will join our work in support of providing fishing sheds to four additional districts.   Please spread the word!

Donor selection with district leader
Donor selection with district leader
Fisherman taking care of equipment
Fisherman taking care of equipment
Thank You for the shed!!
Thank You for the shed!!
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GMT, PWA, District Leaders and residents with shed
GMT, PWA, District Leaders and residents with shed

A significant obstacle that remains for Minamisanriku fishing families is work and storage space.  Prior to the March 2011 tsunami, fishing sheds were the “base of operations” of the family business.  Sheds provided the space where men, women, and children would process seafood, prepare nets and ropes, and store equipment.  After the tsunami, tents and tarps are all that replace many of the family work sheds.        

Thank you for supporting the fishing sheds project.  With your support, Peace Winds America (PWA) and our partner Grace Mission Tohoku (GMT) are rebuilding 42 fishing sheds in five Minamisanirku districts.

PWA, GMT, and Minamisanriku District Leaders identified work sheds as critical to the economic recovery of fishing families and communities.  In each district PWA and GMT work closely with the District Leaders to serve community needs.  The top priority of Baba-Nakayama District Leaders was a community fishing shed built in late August.  The community shed stores equipment and supplies shared by fishing families.  Also in Baba-Nakayama, PWA approved shed applications from 10 families that lost their homes.  In the Niranohama District, PWA and GMT built sheds for 12 fishing families that are living in small temporary housing units.  According to Niranohama District Leader Abe-san, the sheds are “necessary for these families to recover.”     

PWA would like to expand this project throughout Minamisanriku.  You can help!  From November 1 to 15, Global Giving will match 100% donations to the Building Work Space for Fishing Families in Japan project page. 

Spread the word about this great opportunity to your family and friends.  Together, we can help even more families and communities regain their livelihoods in northeast Japan.

Thank you for supporting disaster recovery in Japan!

Ryuoichi Oikawa prepares salmon nets in new shed
Ryuoichi Oikawa prepares salmon nets in new shed
Completed fishing shed
Completed fishing shed
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Yutaka Satoh shows octopus trap in front of shed
Yutaka Satoh shows octopus trap in front of shed

Minamisanriku fishing families work out of two locations:  their boat and their fishing shed.  The March 2011 tsunami destroyed the homes, boats, and sheds of numerous families.  While many have now secured access to a boat, most families still lack a fishing shed.  With your support Peace Winds America is building work and storage sheds for 40 fishing families that lost their homes and sheds in the March 2011 tsunami.  

Yutaka Satoh and his wife, like many Minamisanriku fishing families, live in a small temporary housing unit several kilometers from the seashore.  The tsunami destroyed the Satoh’s home and shed, leaving only the concrete foundations.  PWA built a fishing shed for the Satoh family in August 2012.  During a visit in September, PWA found the Satohs mending salmon nets, seeding wakame seaweed ropes, and repairing octopus traps.  According to Yutaka Satoh, preparation is the key to successful fall and winter fishing seasons, and to regaining his livelihood.  The fishing shed provides the work and storage space he needs to succeed. 

With your support, PWA and partners are building 40 fishing sheds in five Minamisanriku districts.  Already other Minamisanriku districts are taking notice, asking when PWA will expand the shed building program to their district.  PWA hopes to build sheds throughout Minaminsanriku, and help restore the livelihoods of fishing families like the Satohs.  

Yutaka Satoh's former home destroyed in tsunami
Yutaka Satoh's former home destroyed in tsunami
Carpenter Takeshi Shimonishi inspects fishing shed
Carpenter Takeshi Shimonishi inspects fishing shed

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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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