In July 2020, a week of torrential rain severely affected Kyushu in southern Japan. The flood affected more than 11,000 homes and left nearly 3,000 people as evacuees. A total of 68 people lost their lives, and 12 remain missing. In response, Japan’s Disaster Volunteer Centre was established, and it only accepted local volunteers due to concerns over COVID-19.
In addition, Give2Asia launched a disaster relief campaign to support local partners working on Japan’s Kyushu flood response. The needs identified by our local non-profit partners included:
- Providing food, water, and emergency shelter for displaced residents
- Supporting shelter management
- Recruiting, deploying, and building capacity for local volunteers
- Providing hygiene and sanitation kits
- Providing medium- and longer-term recovery work, such as livelihood recovery, rehabilitation of damaged houses and public facilities, and psychosocial support to flood-affected communities
Six months into the campaign, the communities started their recovery phase. The funds supported house retrofits and capacity building for the affected families.
Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) is dedicated to supporting people in distress and threatened by conflict, poverty, and other turmoil. Since 1996, PWJ has operated in 33 regions. It provides emergency humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities to safeguard people’s lives and meet their basic human needs. It includes reconstruction and development assistance to regenerate self-sustaining livelihoods.
Kyushu Flood Recovery Program
The campaign supported PWJ’s program in conducting disaster awareness and skill-building to reconstruct the houses of 60 residents from Hitoyoshi, one of the affected cities. PWJ also surveyed damages, diagnosed mold growth in flooded homes, held lectures on house restoration, and responded to residents’ requests for advice on housing safety, cold-proofing, and repair.
In this program, PWJ invited Arch-Rescue Hitoyoshi-Kuma, a group of architects, and Kazegumi Kanto, an association of skilled professionals, to support the affected communities. Residents received free technical advice on how to restore their damaged houses. In particular, residents with financial difficulties or the elderly consulted the team on how to reduce the cost of rebuilding their home, which usually costs JPY 5-10 million (approximately US$43,000 to US$86,000). For example, these residents can reduce the number of rooms or select cheaper furniture, which can help them save up to 20% to 50% of the restoration costs. In addition, the residents received information about financial support for those affected by natural disasters.
The collaboration between Arch-Rescue Hitoyoshi-Kuma and Kazegumi Kanto provided better advice and support for the residents. It combined the know-how and expertise of technical volunteers with local architects. The project pioneered this type of collaboration as PWJ built a new system where they can provide affected residents with technical support and advice by architects on restorations in addition to routine emergency housing care, such as cleaning dirt, removing the floor and the walls, drying them, and sterilizing the flooded house.
Japan remains vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ranks Japan as one of the top five countries with the highest risks of natural disasters. In particular, Kyushu is one of Japan’s high disaster risk areas, with annual floods, typhoons, and powerful earthquakes in the past five years. Give2Asia’s disaster response partners in Japan, such as Peace Wind Japan, Peace Boat Disaster Relief, Rescue Stock Yard, and Japan Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster, provide relief and recovery. They are also continuously working to increase communities’ disaster preparedness. This is an ongoing effort, especially with the increasing need due to the effects of climate change that directly affect the communities.
Give2Asia works to increase the capacity of local community-based organizations across Asia to prepare for disasters and build sustainable programming to address long-term climate challenges. We work with countries that are highly vulnerable to disasters to fund innovative programming at the community level. Donations to Give2Asia’s Disaster Preparedness Fund will support our partners in their disaster preparedness efforts.