5th December 2019 21:30
Staff members from Soul Home-Visit Nursing Station, a nonprofit home care nursing organization in Mabi (Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture) in the community affected by the 2018 Western Japan floods, visited the disaster affected community in Nagano. JPF staff had the opportunity to speak with Soul Home-Visit Nursing Station staff earlier this year in July. Residents in Nagano felt as if their emotional burdens were lifted by talking with the visiting staff.
29th November 2019 19:30
Over a year has passed since the western Japan floods, but JPF member NGOs are continuing to engage in community revitalization work in the areas severely affected by the floods. In the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama prefecture, Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) is working towards community revitalization through improving the main and branch community centers and providing disaster preparedness training. Meanwhile, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) is supporting local organizations with their salon activities and events to assist in community reconstruction efforts.
It is our hope that community revitalization will prompt improvements in the general environment of the community so that the residents can help each other and that the evacuees can return to live in Mabi again.
29th October 2019 22:00
A nonprofit organization in the town of Mabi, Kurashiki City (of Okayama Prefecture) had gone through the Western Japan Floods of July 2018. Now, they have extended a helping hand at an evacuation shelter in Hitachiota City, Ibaraki Prefecture, which has been affected by Typhoon Hagibis. Mainichi Shimbun newspaper’s local edition reported that the NPO served hot meals at the shelter.
This disaster relief organization called Gorilla was actively and energetically reporting on their activities at the Disaster Relief Network Okayama’s “Joint Reporting Session for Civic Organizations’ 1-Year Support for the July 2018 Floods.” JPF staff also took part in this reporting session, which was held in Okayama City on July 7 of this year.
25th September 2019 23:00
Typhoon Krosa makes landfall near the city of Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture; Fear of record rainfall (Tweet from NHK Seikatsu-Bosai)
The vacation deadline for emergency temporary housing is a big problem for people living in temporary housing units and public-funded private rental accommodations in Ehime Prefecture. Carefully tailored aid continues to be needed to rebuild the lives of the affected people.
15th August 2019 16:41
Large Typhoon Krosa made landfall near the city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture around 3 PM. Rain clouds that have developed far from the eye are causing intermittent, very heavy rain. There is a possibility of record rainfall in regions in Shikoku and Kii Peninsula.
See here for Tweet from NHK Seikatsu-Bosai
16th July 2019 22:00
Japan Platform (JPF) staff members visited the town of Mabi during the morning of July 7, and observed the Oda River levee that burst a year ago. Afterwards, they went back to the city of Okayama and attended a meeting in the afternoon held by Saigai Sien Network Okayama (Disaster Relief Network Okayama) titled “The Joint Public-Private Report on One Year of Aid for the July 2018 Flooding.” It was a very valuable opportunity for us to hear from many local organizations, as we also have a program to assist those affected by the West Japan Flooding. This meeting was held in a community space called Hashtag inside Brunch Okayama Kitanagase, a complex that just opened in front of Kitanagase Station, which is just one station away from Okayama Station. From the venue, we could hear children squealing and playing in the water foundation inside the premises, as 18 participating organizations reported on their activities from when the disaster hit to now.
180 organizations participate in Saigai Shien Network Okayama and only a handful presented their reports at the event. However, the content was wide in variety, ranging from flood rescue using boats, distribution of material aid, running a volunteer center and providing first aid, assisting children, assisting mothers, relieving the stress of affected people by administering moxibustion, acupuncture and massages, cleaning photos full of memories, and providing legal counseling. It was very clear that they have carried out various types of assistance that is tailored to the needs of the affected people. Many organizations also mentioned other organizations in their reports, which highlighted the connection and cooperation among local organizations.
We thank members of participating organizations for their valuable reports. In between reports, Saigai Sien Network Okayama’s motto, “Ame nochi hare no kuni Okayama yappari harerude! (Okayama, the land of sunshine after rain, will shine at the end!),” was shown in large letters on the screen, and we hope that the communities they support will continue to recover exactly as their motto goes.
We also express our gratitude to General Incorporated Foundation Kuraray Foundation for accompanying us throughout the busy day, from visiting Mabi to attending the meeting. We hope that you will continue to support our programs.
10th July 2019 22:00
July 7th was an extremely hot and sunny day during the rainy season in Japan. On this day, Japan Platform (JPF) staff visited the town of Mabi in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, which was severely affected by the flooding that occurred a year ago. On the ground, JPF member NGO Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) has been carrying out a JPF-funded program to rebuild the community, and we visited Soul Houmon Kango Station (Soul Visiting Nursing Station), a local organization that they are supporting. General Incorporated Foundation Kuraray Foundation, which made donations to our programs, joined us on our visit, and we heard from people on the ground together.
Western Japan Floods: The path to recovery for mandarin orange farmers
At Soul Houmon Kango Station, we heard from Director Kataoka and others involved about the various difficulties that they encountered after the disaster hit. They told us about the damage from the flooding, how seniors who couldn’t move were rescued, and evacuation at the shrine. We also learned about disaster recovery efforts as well as support from the town of Minamisanriku and the exchange and bond formed between the two communities.
There were also a couple dozen people visiting from Kochi Prefecture, where significant damage is expected if a Nankai megathrust earthquake hits. Professor Kambara of the University of Kochi, who was leading the group, is originally from Mabi, and we found that she was involved in creating Mabi Care, an informational website that strives to support recovery in Mabi.
Our stay was only a couple hours long, but we were able to visit the shrine that served as an evacuation center, attend a meeting to listen to reports and watch a video about efforts made by a local organization, hear the first performance of a song written to support Mabi, and we were even treated to a delicious lunch. We hope that members of the community will continue to have the opportunity to gather, share a meal and laugh together every Sunday, and that it will support the recovery of the community.
We express our sincere gratitude to the members of Soul Houmon Kango Station for welcoming us at their office, the PWJ representative on the ground for helping us coordinate our schedules and taking us around, and the visitors from Kochi Prefecture for joining us on our visit.
27th June 2019 23:00
ETV Special Program Mikan no Hana ga Saku Tani de: Gouu kara Ichinen, Noukatachi no Jijyoden (In the Valley where Mandarin Orange Flowers Bloom: A Memoir of the Farmers in the Year After the Floods), a documentary aired on NHK, focuses on the mandarin orange farmers in Ehime who were affected by the West Japan Floods over the year that followed.
The West Japan Floods that hit the region last July devastated the home of the Ehime mandarin oranges. The program follows the internal struggles and decisions of the farmers as they recover from the disaster.
▼See here for details on the NHK ETV Special Program
16th May 2019 3:30
In response to the request for input from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), JPF contributed to the write-up on the challenges faced in Japan during disaster evacuations. Our input was incorporated into a report on Japan (pp. 30-31) in the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2019 (GRID 2019) published on 10th May.
We had especially frequent disasters in Japan in 2018, and the Western Japan floods were mentioned in this report as an example of where the issues concerning “at-home evacuees” became visible. In fact, JPF is clearly cited as an information source. (Please see endnote no. 144 on p. 109.)
Through these efforts of ours such as the information shared with IDMC, we sincerely hope that these issues that arose in disaster response in Japan would gain international recognition and lead to the sharing of experiences, and that the lessons learned would be effective in future emergencies elsewhere.
GRID2019, which is in English, can be downloaded here: http://www.internal-displacement.org/global-report/grid2019/
2nd April 2019 23:00
The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that after nine months since last July’s Western Japan floods devastated the region, the Mabi branch of the Kurashiki City Hall (in Okayama Prefecture) has been fully restored. At the time of the disaster, the ground floor of the Mabi branch had been completely flooded due to the torrential rain. Starting in August of last year, they consolidated all of the departmental functions to the second floor and proceeded with their city services there. Now that the restoration work has been almost fully completed on the ground floor, the branch office resumed their full services throughout the building.
Until now, applications for public funds for the demolition of flooded homes were accepted at the main city hall, but it can now be accepted on the ground floor of the Mabi branch. This enables greater access for the elderly and those with mobility challenges. At the ceremony to commemorate the full restoration, Kurashiki City Mayor Kaori Ito stated that it is their “hope that the restoration of the branch will be a symbol for this first year of the city’s reconstruction.” A woman who visited the branch office also was hopeful, saying, “Mabi is still dark at night and it would probably take some time to fully recover, but we are moving forward one step at a time, and my wish is that we return to the lively Mabi that we had before.”
Find the Mainichi Shimbun article here: https://mainichi.jp/articles/20190401/k00/00m/040/064000c
5th March 2019 19:30
As a JPF grant project, JPF member NGO Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) is helping preserve photographs of those who were affected by the Western Japan floods, in addition to their ongoing efforts to clean up the homes.
As temporary housing units have been constructed and the residents’ living conditions are changing, a volunteer group called “Mabicho Shashin Senjo @ Araiguma Okayama (which means Mabi town photo cleansing at Araiguma Okayama)” was launched to help save the residents’ photographs. To respond to the requests to salvage tens of thousands of flood-damaged photographs, PBV is helping with the restoration efforts. They are recruiting volunteers in Mabi as well.
Read PBV’s report here: https://pbv.or.jp/blog/?p=22909
4th February 2019 20:00
As a JPF grant project, JPF member NGO Telecom For Basic Human Needs (BHN) hosted computer training trial events in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture, at the Yasuura Emergency Temporary Housing Complex in the town of Yasuura and at the Tenno Emergency Temporary Housing Complex in the Tenno Ohama District.
At the time of the flooding, the levees breaking and the rivers overflowing not only cost precious lives of residents but also damaged houses, commercial facilities, and factories. Many evacuees are still living in temporary housing. These computer training events were received very favorably among the participants, and the local municipal government employees commented that they would “certainly like the event to continue to take place in the future.”
24th January 2019 19:00
In December 2018, JPF received a donation from the Kuraray Foundation to support our emergency response to Western Japan floods. Kuraray Foundation has a unique policy for donations as they acknowledge that “communities affected by disasters will receive ample external funds right after natural disasters occur, but when the same communities enter the vital phase where their residents must autonomously support their own reconstruction, funds would start to fall low.” Hence the Foundation supports efforts at this reconstruction phase, and the donation made at this time was in line with this policy and given in support of the aims of JPF’s response to Western Japan floods.
At JPF, we decided last October that the response program to Western Japan floods would entail supporting efforts taken on by the people affected by the floods themselves as they worked towards reconstruction. More specifically, the response program 1) supports local intermediary support organizations that serve as the hub of local NPOs, and 2) works in partnership among JPF, its member NGOs, local NPOs, and the local governments on supporting evacuees who are prone to isolation. We are pleased that this donor has shown their support of these objectives through their generous gift.
12th January 2019 22:00
As a JPF grant project, JPF member NGO AAR Japan is continuing to provide support to social welfare facilities in Okayama, Ehime, and Hiroshima prefectures that have been affected by the Western Japan floods in July last year. These facilities had been generally overlooked by other relief efforts when assistance was initially provided right after the flooding happened.
In Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, AAR Japan has provided desks, chairs, and bookshelves that were necessary to resume operations at the Mabi Community Life Support Center, which is operated by a social welfare organization called Link. This center runs a salon and its staff has noted, “With the support we received at this time, we could replace the desks and chairs we had with the newly purchased ones of perfect height that let us see eye to eye with children when we sit and talk with them. This allows for easier consultations with those who come to us.”
For an NPO called Yasuragi in the Yasuura district of Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture, AAR provided two vehicles, one in September and one in November last year. These replaced the vehicles that used to be used to pick up and to drop off clients that had been washed away in the torrential rain in July. Ms. Kimiyo Matsushige, the representative of Yasuragi, has said, “Because we were provided with large vehicles to use for our pick-ups and drop-offs, we can now save a lot more time with the drives and consequently spend more time with our facility users. In spring, we hope to be able to use the vehicles to take everybody to cherry blossom viewing.”
Read AAR Japan’s article here: https://www.aarjapan.gr.jp/activity/report/2018/1221_2678.html