PWJ's Community Rebuilding Assistance
31st October 2020 18:00
As part of the JPF program, JPF member NGO Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) is currently implementing a project to support community rebuilding in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, and surrounding disaster-affected areas.
In Mabi, where the damages were severe, about half of the community meeting spaces were damaged. Furniture, electrical appliances, and other equipment necessary for those spaces to function were damaged, and it has been difficult to continue events and salon activities. In addition, due to the changes in the living environment caused by the disaster, there is a lack of places for local residents to gather.
Through providing equipment and support for events and salon activities hosted by local organizations in Mabi, PWJ is supporting the maintenance and continuation of the local community and the creation of a neighborhood where people can continue to live with peace of mind. For example, Kawabe Reconstruction Project Aruku, a local organization supported by PWJ, regularly holds yoga classes in a format where they take thorough measures against new coronavirus infections. In fact, this has become a popular event among participants.
PBV’s Training Project
29th September 2020 23:30
JPF member NGO Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) is conducting a training project as part of the JPF program that aims for community revitalization in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, through improving the main and branch community centers and providing disaster preparedness training. PBV’s training project intends to create a space for residents to exchange information in order to prepare for future disasters, rebuild their lives after the flooding, and to think about the community so that they can build up Mabi as a community in which everyone can feel safe and at ease.
When PBV conducted needs assessment through interviewing the residents, they found out that the residents wanted training on evacuation shelters that included basic lectures, implementation, and drills, as well as training on how to best respond to future disasters that takes into account the new coronavirus pandemic. PBV will continue to make preparations for the implementation of the training.
Valuable Means of Transportation Running Through Mabi
16th August 2020 21:00
- Elevated Ibara Railway tracks in the distance
I have mentioned several times on Facebook and in our other updates that last July, exactly one year after the torrential rain in western Japan, we JPF staff visited the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, that had sustained serious damages from the flooding. Organizing photos taken from Soul Home-Visit Nursing Station where we were visiting then, I noticed one picture taken from a second-floor window. I couldn’t remember what exactly was intended in this photo right away, but looking back on what we discussed with people at Soul, it seems that I was trying to take a picture of the elevated railway line in the background.
I remember hearing at the time that there were some people who took shelter on the elevated tracks to escape the flooding when the town was flooded. I didn't pay any more attention to this story at the time, but when I researched it again, I found out that this was an elevated section of the Ibara Line, a local railway line operated by the local railway company Ibara Railway, that connects Soja City in Okayama Prefecture to Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture. Ibara Line had stopped operating when the torrential rain and subsequent flooding devastated the area, but it was gradually restored, section by section, and two months later, the entire line had resumed operation. Today, the railway continues to serve as a valuable means of transportation for the local people.
By the way, Ibara Railway is selling a “Kumagawa Railway Restoration Ticket Set” to support the Kumagawa Railway in Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, which had to stop operation due to the torrential rain in Kyushu this July. All proceeds (excluding consumption tax and administrative expenses) are donated to the Kumagawa Railway. Both railway companies are ‘third-sector’ (public-private partnership) railways, and they have both experienced flooding damages. I hope that Ibara Railway’s support will help the recovery of Kumagawa Railway and the areas affected by the July 2020 floods in Kyushu.
Click here for more information about Ibara Railway's support for Kumagawa Railway: https://www.ibara-railway.co.jp/news/news-724/
6th July 2020 23:00
- Kumano Shrine in the town of Mabi, which served as an evacuation center
It has been two years since the Western Japan Floods hit. We express our condolences to those who lost their loved ones, and offer our deepest sympathies to all who were affected.
To this date, Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) and Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), both of which are member NGOs of Japan Platform (JPF), are helping communities recover in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki.
We will continue to deliver aid that is closely tailored to local needs, while taking precautions to protect against COVID-19.
29th June 2020 13:30
- *Photo from visit to Mabi in July 2019
JPF member NGO Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) has been continuing its community revitalization project since late May of this year in the town of Mabi, Kurashiki City, where they have worked closely with a local organization since right after the flooding occurred in 2018. While being careful to prevent the spread of COVID-19, PWJ has been supporting the local disaster relief organization Gorilla reopen its café and the Riverside Revitalization Project Aruku (Kawabe Fukko Project Aruku) host their online events.
25th May 2020 19:30
- Farming equipment provided ©PBV
- Cooking equipment provided ©PBV
JPF member NGO Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) is working towards community revitalization in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, through improving the main and branch community centers and providing disaster preparedness training. During the months of March and April, PBV provided equipment as part of the improvement project for the main and branch community centers. Disaster preparedness training, on the other hand, is being postponed due to COVID-19. We sincerely hope that the spread of COVID-19 will come to a halt soon so that aid projects can resume in the communities affected by the flooding that are moving towards full reconstruction.
27th April 2020 19:30
JPF member NGO Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) introduces you to a disaster relief organization called Gorilla*, which has been active in the town of Mabi (Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture) that sustained serious damages in the Western Japan floods. [*Gorilla had reported on their activities at the Disaster Relief Network Okayama’s joint reporting session in Okayama City on 7th July 2019, and JPF staff was fortunate to have heard their reporting then.]
As the state of emergency declaration continues to be in effect due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), a Gorilla member is taking the time to carefully disinfect playground equipment such as jungle gyms and swings. As Mabi proceeds on its way to full recovery from the floods, we hope that the effects of COVID-19 will be kept to a minimum.
PWJ’s report can be read here.
21st March 2020 20:00
JPF has decided to extend the program duration of our Emergency Response to Western Japan Floods, giving consideration to the continued needs in the affected regions. (Decision made on 5th March)
Program Duration: 9th October 2018 - 31st March 2021
(*Originally intended to end on 31st March 2020, it has been extended to 31st March 2021.)
We will continue to post updates on our member NGOs’ relief projects on social media and on our website.
16th February 2020 11:00
As part of JPF’s response to the Western Japan floods, JPF member NGOs Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) and Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) are continuing their relief activities in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture. SOUL, a nonprofit organization in Kurashiki for which PWJ has provided hands-on support, has had to say goodbye to the trailer house that has been used in hot meal distributions and meetings since after the flood. As JPF staff, we remember fondly the chat we had in this trailer house back in July of last year when we visited Mabi. The trailer will be transported to Saga Prefecture, and we hope that it will continue to serve well as a space for respite there, too.
Read about SOUL here: http://bit.ly/2tVJIRL
27th January 2020 12:58
With over a year having passed since the Western Japan floods, JPF member NGOs Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) and Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) are each carrying out projects in the town of Mabi in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture. PBV is implementing “Community Revitalization through Improvement of Main and Branch Community Centers and Disaster Preparedness,” while PWJ’s project is “Support for Local Organizations with Salon Activities and Events as a Community Reconstruction Effort.”
For a local nonprofit organization SOUL, for which PWJ has provided hands-on support and with whom JPF visited July last year, it has been a year since they returned to their Mabi office from their temporary office in Soja City. On the other hand, we have heard about other offices and businesses that could not be revived and had to be shut down. In Mabi, there has also been a Comprehensive Community Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Conference to discuss the future of the community care system.
SOUL’s Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/soul.mabi8/
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