Peace Boat has used its network and resources to aid in disaster relief since the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake which devastated the Kobe region in western Japan in 1995. Disaster relief and reduction became a pillar of Peace Boat's mission when we established Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV), formerly Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center, in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Today PBV aids communities affected by disaster both domestically and internationally by delivering emergency assistance, raising funds, and promoting disaster resilience through the training and dispatch of volunteers.
PBV in Ishinomaki in 2011.
PBV representative Suzuki Ikuno joined the 103rd Oceania Voyage to share this mission and PBV's work. Ikuno gave six presentations while on board covering PBV's past and current projects, as well as its efforts since 2011 to increase Japan's resilience to future disasters by developing a collaborative framework between Japanese authorities, NGOs and volunteers. Most recently PBV has been providing disaster relief in Iwaki, Fukushima, and Kyonan-machi, Chiba, areas affected by typhoons Faxai and Hagibis last year. An English language workshop was also organized to introduce PBV and the Japanese disaster relief system to Peace Boat's international participants.
PBV in Iwaki, 2019.
The 103rd Voyage visited several ports throughout Australia, just as the country was facing devastating bushfires that began in 2019 and would continue on through February. As she was sailing with the ship, Ikuno pressed the urgency of the situation in a presentation on board, and introduced the fundraising operation set up both on the ship and in Japan to support first nations communities in their recovery from the bushfires in Australia. The final fundraising results and their distribution will be announced in a future report.