August 30, 2013
Six survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake from Ishinomaki travel to neighbouring Iwate Prefecture to assist communities affected by severe weather.
PBV dispatched an advanced team on August 17th to Shizukuishi-cho, Iwate Prefecture, where there was extensive damage from heavy rainfall and flooding in early August.
Over 1500 homes had sustained damage and thousands of people and livelihoods were affected by the severe weather conditions.
By August 21st, PBV had commenced relief operations in partnership with the local Disaster Relief Volunteer Center and Social Welfare Council. Volunteers from across Japan came together to remove mud and debris from flooded homes, working through the relentless summer heat.
Having heard of the extent of the damage in Iwate Prefecture following the severe weather, six fishermen agreed to join PBV’s relief team to help their neighbours in their time of need.
The six fishermen live and work in fishing villages in the Oshika Peninsula, many of which were devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
In the wake of the 2011 disaster, a number of the fishermen worked with PBV in villages and local fisheries, working side by side to revitalize their communities.
“At the time the Great East Japan Earthquake, I couldn’t understand why so many volunteers came to help us. I couldn’t see what was in it for them. Now, having done it myself, I can understand,” remarked one fisherman.
“When I saw how bad the situation was in Iwate, I immediately wanted to help and started figuring out the logistics of going up there. However, I couldn’t take that last step to go by myself. When PBV invited me, I took them up on their offer immediately”.
The fishermen from Ishinomaki feel strongly about giving back to other communities and believe that survivors can and should take on the role of disaster relief volunteers in future disasters.
PBV is proud to be part of this kind of support network; neighbours helping neighbours and communities reaching out to help others in times of disaster.
This kind of safety net is essential to building strong, resilient communities and PBV will continue to train and mobilize disaster relief volunteers to assist disaster-stricken areas in the future.