As many have heard, or know of first hand, Hiroshima along with many other areas from Kyoto to Kyushu have been hard hit by heavy rains, floods, landslides and the shortage of food supplies and transportation links that follow a disaster. Our greatest and deepest sympathies go out to families that have been directly affected by a loss of life or a home. This was a disaster of a scale many locals have said they have never seen or heard of before.
For those of us living in the city enter, things look back to normal but even so, as of Monday, July 9, food supply networks are down leaving half of supermarkets and convenience store shelves bare. Even at Costco, there is no milk or eggs and fresh fish, vegetables and fruit are in limited supply. If you are considering a visit to Hiroshima, it is best to wait a week or so to allow transportation to recover and to reinstate regular food delivery supplies for locals. If you are already here in Hiroshima, be kind to those around you and expect delays and less than efficient transportation service.
For those who want to help, the Hiroshima YMCA and other locations are accepting donations for disaster relief. There are also volunteer activities being set up for the rest of the month, but at first, it seems that they are limiting volunteers to locals from the area, or need only experienced and specially trained volunteers. This is because it is still unclear how dangerous, or unstable many of the areas are, therefore an influx of volunteers may inhibit ongoing rescue and rebuilding efforts.
Peace Winds Japan (English) is a volunteer group that has been very active in providing emergency help and services to Okayama and Hiroshima among other affected areas. They are accepting credit card donations to support their efforts. The National Disaster Volunteer Support Network (JP) lists all the areas affected by Typhoon 7 and links to local information and volunteer recruitment. It looks like many areas are still getting set up, but certain areas are accepting volunteers. This blog page will be updated with links to where volunteers are needed in Hiroshima (in Japanese). According to this Shakyo page, it also seems possible to sign up at the 5th floor of BIG FRONT opposite the Hiroshima JR station between 9-5 (Tel: 080-2931-4542).
If you do volunteer to help, make sure you wear clothing that covers most of your body, wear good boots and a hat, take a refillable water bottle, snacks and small towels, suncream and insect repellant. If you have good gloves and a shovel it also helps, but you should at least have cotton gloves, rubber boots, and proper clothing coverage to protect yourself and be as comfortable as possible. When you sign up, you will likely have to sign a waiver to release the group of liability in case you are injured. There may also be extra insurance they’d like you to sign up for when you register. It is a worthwhile experience, so if you want to volunteer to help, please do so- otherwise, please make a donation to help with recovery and clean-up efforts.
If you are keen to lend a hand over this long weekend, there is likely to be a significant amount of debris washed into the Seto-inland sea from the storms, so please join us for the Miyajima beach-clean up on “Ocean Day” July 16th 「海の日」from 8-12.
Please add any further details and links in the comments and I will make every effort to update this page with new volunteer information as I’m able to find it.
7/13/2018 : Volunteering in Asa-Kita-ku area now open & accepting volunteers from outside the area
Asa-Kita-ku (Kuchita Elementary school area) has volunteer registration from today & you can get insurance at location & free parking- please come sign-up between 8:30-5pm to help clear debris & help clean Organized by very nice local people.
It’s hot, so please wear hats, bring water, your own snacks and lunch, long-sleeves and long trousers, good boots or at least rubber work boots. According to other volunteers, there are deep layers of mud to dig out from the bottom of people’s homes in the area. This area was not hit by the landslides opposite the main river in Asa-Kita-ku last time, locals say they have never been affected by disasters like this before. There are over 30,000 people living in the wider area, local volunteer estimated that only a fraction of the residents was affected but the damage where it happened is quite severe.
I am planning to volunteer at this location from 8:30am to 12 noon on Tuesday 7/17 if anyone would like to join, please do! I can help with sigining in and an easy orientation to volunteering.