The Leading Disaster Relief Agency Civic Force

HOME NEWS 【Typhoon No.19】"Now the House is Clean!" ー NPO Partner Project



【Typhoon No.19】"Now the House is Clean!" ー NPO Partner Project


Management Support for the Northern Nagano Disaster Volunteer Center

It has been one month since Typhoon No.19 (Hagibis) brought record levels of heavy rain and winds. Northern Nagano is one of the most severely affected areas and visited by many volunteers every day. On weekends, there are as many as over 2,000 volunteers that visit the area to assist cleaning flooded houses and removing debris.

"It was chaotic at first when we opened the volunteer center. But now we are getting settled to effectively accept volunteers," said Mr. Kunihiro Abe from JOCA (Japan Overseas Cooperative Association). JOCA is providing management support for the Northern Nagano Disaster Volunteer Center.

The Northern Nagano Disaster Volunteer Center, managed by the Nagano Council of Social Welfare, set up five satellite volunteer centers to better serve the community. JOCA is assisting one of them called "Ringo (Apple) Satellite." Ringo Satellite is located at a nursing home called Ringo Township which is near the flooded Chikuma River. JOCA works with other NPOs to assess the damage and dispatch volunteers accordingly.


JOCA goes around each household in the neighborhood with community leaders to assess manpower needed and progress of clean-up efforts. In addition, JOCA takes advantage of its own network of former Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers based in Nagano. Those former volunteers joined to assist the management of the disaster volunteer center using their local knowledge and networks. Because JOCA works with people who understand the local situation, the residents can feel safe in accepting volunteers.

In northern Nagano, the town had to deal with not only the removal of mud from flooded homes but also mountains of debris that kept piling up. But now, the debris is being sorted through with help from volunteers who came with pick-up trucks. One community leader says "Clean-up efforts became more efficient than before. Please keep up the  good work!"

One victim said tearfully, "I could not have possibly cleaned up by myself. Thank you so much for your help"


Going Around On Foldable Bicycles 

Right after the onset of the disaster, there were many people who were at a loss for words looking at their ruined homes. But the affected areas have gradually begun to recover with help from volunteers who came from all over the country.

Civic Force is supporting JOCA through NPO Partner Projects. JOCA provided management support at disaster volunteer centers during the Great East Japan Earthquake and West Japan Floods and is experienced in grassroots community development. JOCA is now building on their expertise and experiences to assist the affected areas. NPO Partner Projects is assisting management support for accommodations for volunteers and installing bicycles to be used for conducting needs assessments efficiently.



"This disaster assistance is the first project in Nagano since we moved our headquarters here in 2018. We make sure to highlight what is needed through residents' perspectives as we build on our past experiences and connections in providing assistance," said Mr. Naoki Horita, Executive Director of JOCA. JOCA's approach is to remain in the background while working for early recovery in disaster affected areas and to promote community ties and owenership.