By Gunma, Japan Relief Team (Originally in Japanese)
From September 6 to 11, 2015, unprecedented rainfall following Typhoon Etau struck Japan, causing severe flooding and landslides in which eight people lost their lives. Rivers overflowed in the Kantō and Tōhoku regions in eastern and northeastern Japan, where approximately 19,000 homes were flooded and 118 were damaged or destroyed. Ibaraki, Tochigi and Miyagi Prefectures were among the most severely affected areas.
Remembering Supreme Master Ching Hai’s instruction to help others in times of need, our Association members from the Gunma Center gathered information on the disaster situation, and traveled to Miyagi Prefecture to carry out relief work. The Gunma Center had previously provided earthquake relief to the affected area in Miyagi Prefecture in 2011, and we were eager to help again.
The government quickly dispatched the country’s Self-Defense Forces to the affected areas to provide assistance. Both the government and private businesses quickly delivered emergency supplies.
Although the department in charge of disaster relief informed us that no more emergency supplies were needed, we nonetheless purchased certain items based on our past experience in flood relief, including shoes, rain boots, sandbags and vegan cakes. Then on the evening of September 12, we loaded the items onto a truck and set off for the refugee shelter in Miyagi Prefecture. Upon arriving at the shelter the next morning, we noticed that the damage to the area was quite serious and the houses were full of muddy water.
We first brought a supply of items to the most severely hit city of Osaki. After meeting with the chief ward of the area where the damage was heaviest, we transferred some of the items to the chief, who bowed deeply to express his sincere thanks. He promised to deliver the supplies to the affected households. Afterwards, we went to a shelter in an elementary school where approximately 100 people were staying, including many senior citizens and children. When we distributed shoes and rain boots to those in need, a mother with young children said, “Our house is full of mud and water and desperately needs cleaning. This is a big help!”
We also gave the 3,250 sandbags we had prepared to the local volunteer center, where the administrative personnel said gratefully, “We are expecting to have 10,000 sandbags delivered tomorrow, but you have brought these in advance. It’s very helpful.”
After leaving Osaki, we headed to Kurihara, where the shelter was located in a difficult-to-reach, rural area. Four displaced people were staying at the shelter, including a five-month-old infant. For the infant, we purchased diapers, moist towelettes and other items, and sent them to the shelter. Supplies such as rain boots, shoes and vegan cakes were also given to the city office to share with the affected households.
It took approximately seven hours to drive from the Gunma Center to the disaster-affected areas in Miyagi Prefecture, but due to Master’s guidance we were able to quickly deliver the supplies to those in need. Throughout the relief effort, we could feel Master’s blessing and light permeating the region.
After delivering supplies in Miyagi Prefecture, our relief team members were still concerned about the situation in other areas such as Ibaraki Prefecture, which was reported to have suffered severe damage. However, we learned that relief work had already been conducted there by our Tokyo Center Association members.
At that time, more than 1,500 people had also been displaced in the city of Jōsō, and we wished to provide them with vitamins and minerals. Thus, our Association members prepared a total of 3,035 individual containers of vegetable and fruit juice. On the outside of the boxes holding the juice containers, we wrote loving messages of encouragement for the recipients. The items were delivered to Jōsō the next day. Although the city had already received an abundance of supplies, they still accepted the juice.
We are deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to share in the flood relief effort for the Kantō and Tōhoku Regions, which gave us a chance to once again convey Master’s love to people in need. We sincerely thank Master, and are determined to practice more diligently. May all those affected by the flooding be blessed with much comfort.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association
for Flood Relief Work in Japan
|Supplies (moist towlettes, diapers, shoes, boots and bags), food (crackers, chocolates, potato chips, vegetable juice packs etc.)||569,437||A|
|Total|| JPY 640,662