OBI brings aid to fishing communities in Japan

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Report from the field: OBI teams share their firsthand, eye-witness accounts of the relief efforts in Japan

SHIOGAMA, Japan – Asian Director Ron Oates and I met with the Urato Islands Fishing Guild, at their temporary office set up on the mainland in Shiogama City. Our meeting was to discuss how Operation Blessing could help the local oyster and seaweed cultivation industry get back on its feet.

Most of their equipment and cultivation beds that float in the plankton-rich Matsushima Bay had been decimated in the tsunami. We had already provided the guild with computers to help them start reorganizing and establishing communication with the rest of the world.

The younger fishermen have already started sending out twitter messages and blogging about their needs and desire to get back to fishing. And now 20 industrial grade generators that were made to specification at Power Tech in the United States have been transported to Shiogama. They are waiting at the fish market to be delivered in the coming days by boat to the Urato Islands, where power has been cut off since the quake and tsunami on March 11.

Shiogama City is the only fishing port along the Tohoku Coast that has already opened its fish market. With help and encouragement from Operation Blessing, they are set to lead the way and be the example of a fishing community overcoming a decimated fishing industry.