The Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) of Zone 5 – China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, joined relief efforts to assist communities which were impacted by the recent Kumamoto earthquake.
On 14th April, 2016 at 9:26 pm (local time), a strong earthquake (magnitude 6.5) occurred in the Kumamoto area of Kyushu, followed by a second quake (magnitude 7.3) on 16th April, 2016 at 1:25 am. The two earthquakes killed at least 49 people and injured about 3,000 others. Severe damage occurred in Kumamoto and Ōita Prefectures, with numerous structures collapsing and catching fire. More than 44,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the natural disaster.
On 2nd May, 2016, the Sai seva (volunteer) team of Japan visited five evacuation shelters in Mashikimachi, Kashimamachi and Nishiharamura in Kumamoto. Sathya Sai volunteers distributed free-standing tents, tent flooring coated with aluminum film, sweets, juice, fruits, blue sheets, towels, packing tapes, etc.
These items were particularly welcomed at the Kashima Higashi Elementary School, where approximately 100 people, mostly elderly, were taking shelter, but lacked sufficient amenities. Food, water and daily necessities were provided. On a subsequent visit, plans to establish a soup kitchen were discussed. On this occasion, information was received about self-help shelters in Shimomuta and isolated elders’ communities in Madokoro, Tashiro and Mifunemachi, where assistance was needed.
On 3rd May, the Sai seva team donated electric fans and other equipment to a small isolated community of elders in Kosobu, Shiranuhimachi, in Uki-city.
Sathya Sai volunteers also distributed free-standing tents, tent floors coated with aluminum film, toilet rolls, adult diapers, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, hand sanitizers, and isotonic powder to evacuees taking refuge at the Chouyou civic gymnasium in Minami-Aso-village.
Free-standing tents were distributed to 10 people taking shelter at the Ezu 7th Community Centre in Shimomuta, Ezumachi, Kumamoto-city. These people were living in a public car park near the river as 40 out of 160 houses in the area had collapsed.
On 4th May, the SSIO-Japan (SSIOJ) sent flyers to villagers in Tashiro-Madokoro district, for assessing their needs. Tents, beddings and portable toilets were distributed to residents of Ezu 3rd Community. Since the owners of partially collapsed houses have difficulty receiving administrative support, flyers were also distributed to people needing individual support, for establishing a list of needed items.
On 5th May, the SSIOJ gathered materials requested by residents in the affected areas and distributed 108 pots of Udon noodles, 4 laundry machines,120 ‘long-life’ steamed rice packages, 10 waterproof poly tarp blue sheets, 48 bottles of green tea, 1 electric rice cooker, 1 clothes rack and 36 2-litre bottles of mineral water. The SSIOJ is now working on supplying good-quality animation DVDs for children.
On 7th May, 2016, 60 meals were offered to refugees.
Sathya Sai volunteers served in these areas with Sathya Sai Baba’s words in mind, “Love All, Serve All.”