Over the next few months, we will be highlighting different things that the Bellingham Sister City is involved with and the programs it supports and sponsors.
We look forward to sharing with you some of the great international connections we have made and continue to foster and hope that you will consider joining us in our mission to promote world peace through the community to community relationships and experiences that can last a lifetime.
As you already know, Bellingham’s Sister city in Japan, Tateyama, was hit by not just one destructive typhoon this season, but two: Typhoon Faxai and Typhoon Hagibis.
The first typhoon caused lasting damage and the second typhoon caused damage to repairs and caused delays to the already slow recovery of the city. Tateyama is still on the road to its recovery, but due to the extensive damage caused, a full recovery will take some time.
This photo shows blue sheets on damaged houses from the previous Typhoon Faxai in Tateyama, Chiba prefecture on October 11, 2019. JIJI PRESS/JIJI PRESS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Kunio Okayasu, good friend and former colleague of BSCA Past President John Gargett reports from Tokyo on Saturday, October 12:
Here comes sunshine and blue sky and breeze.
No gusty wind last night in Tokyo.
We are all safe and well.
Tateyama again lost power in the midst of gust on coastal area.
There were some tornados in neighborhood city north of Tateyama.
More than a couple of dozen rivers swelled and water over river bank, and dike swept away and inundated cities and farmland.
Defunct nuclear power plants are still there with no further damage.
Recovery ahead will take time but not for long.
There will be world cup rugby game tonight, Japan VS. Scotland.
The path of Hagibis is clearly heading up Tokyo Bay, and directly over Chiba Prefecture as of 0830 JST today, October 9, 2019. It looks like Saturday through Sunday will be a slow passing over Chiba until it heads into the North Pacific.
Our concern is for everyone in its path, with winds ashore in the 100 knots range (115 miles per hour) in Tateyama but perhaps dropping to 80 knots (92 miles per hour) in the Tokyo area.
Here in Bellingham, we are all hoping the typhoon will take a different course out to sea, or if not, we hope the impact on Tateyama will be manageable.
On September 9th 2019, our sister city of Tateyama in Japan was hit by a deadly and devastating Typhoon, Faxai, which was the 15th Typhoon of this season. Read more about its impact here.
We are happy, however, to report the two marathon runners from Tateyama will still be coming to Bellingham for the race this last weekend in September. The public is in invited to join our Mayor Linville meet them and show our support at Bellingham City Hall (210 Lottie St.) on Friday, September 27 at 12:30 pm.
Please join us in showing support for Tateyama and wishing them a quick recovery. We have created a flag for the community to sign with well-wishes for our sister city.
Please consider donating to help support those affected in Tateyama. Your donation can be made by clicking on the link below. Be sure to mention on the message line at the bottom of the page “The typhoon disaster relief donation”. Your support is greatly appreciated during this challenging time for our sister city.
Northern Japan was hit by a powerful typhoon (this season’s 15th named storm – AKA “Typhoon Faxai”) on September 9th, 2019. Among the most devastated in the regions is Bellingham’s own sister city, Tateyama, in Chiba Prefecture. More than 100,000 households remain without electricity and fresh water nearly a week after the storm.
Agricultural damage was extensive, which is the main source of income for many Tateyama residents, much like our own Whatcom County. Many lost their strawberry farms and other crops. Faxai caused severe damage to roofs, windows, and walls of residential homes. Many retail shops’ windows were smashed open by debris.
More rainstorms are expected to hit the region in the coming weeks, which will hamper recovery efforts. The city is distributing tarps to those in need as a temporary solution, in order to avoid citizens getting “drenched” in their own home.
Communications between friends are families and with the public media have been a challenge due to the lack of electricity and many landlines have been cut off. It is expected to take another two weeks or more to restore power to all the affected areas.
Mayor Kenichi Kanamaru appeared on Japanese national television (wearing a Bellingham tee-shirt) acknowledging widespread damage and calling for support.
Tateyama citizen and frequent Bellingham visitor, Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, was interviewed 9-12-19 on his way to SeaTac Airport to return to Tateyama to help. He joins Tateyama Mayor Kanamaru in asking everyone to keep Tateyama in their thoughts and wish them the best in this long recovery.
Hiroyuki was visiting daughter Akane in Renton. Akane reports:
” The wind was so strong it severely damaged numbers of homes. The whole city is experiencing power outages and access to landline and cell signal. Senior citizens are not social media savvy, so they have been cut off from communication. City Hall lost power, but generators kicked in immediately. My sister Minami, who weathered the storm in Tateyama is in shock from being a victim of this disaster. She has never experienced such devastation before. My dad’s sailboat, which belongs to Tateyama Ocean Yacht Club, sank. Seven out of a fleet of thirteen sank. Only 2 survived and the rest are badly damaged. When reached out by others after a tragedy, it’s common for Japanese folks to reply, “we are fine and our home is fine” out of sense of “Enryo”, a widespread Japanese concept of restraining speech or actions to avoid unpleasant confrontation. People may minimize or even be silent regarding the impact of this disaster initially, but I think it’s severe enough that it require a long period of time for the city and its people to recover.”
Ryosuke Okawa, who participated in Ski to Sea race in 2011, drove to Tateyama neighboring town Minamiboso (Ferndale’s Sister City) two days after the disaster and created this video showing the destruction and devastation caused by Typhoon Faxai.
The Bellingham Sister Cities Association is happy, however, to report the two marathon runners from Tateyama will still be coming to Bellingham for the race this last weekend in September. The public is in invited to join our Mayor Linville meet them and show our support at Bellingham City Hall (210 Lottie St.) on Friday, September 27 at 12:30 pm.
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