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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

With the Kyushu Project

Hey everyone! If you're living in Fukuoka, or even if you're not and just want to help, you may be interested in the With The Kyushu project.

What is it about? 

According to this post by Fukuoka city, this is a concrete way that Fukuoka is helping the victims of the earthquake in Kumamoto. Apart from ascertaining the things they need and getting it for them, a bank account has also been opened for those who want to donate money.

The current list of items requested are:
- Wet Tissues
- Calorie Mate and other food supplements that can last a long time.

Previously collected:
- Towels
- Diapers (baby and adult)
- Blankets
- Water
- Sanitary items
- Tissue Papers

If you wish to donate, you can bring the goods to Daimyo Primary School (大名小学校) over in Tenjin. If you wish to donate money, you can transfer it to:

(transliteration/translation as follows)
 ・福岡銀行 本店営業部 普通預金 (Fukuoka Ginkou Honteneigyoubu Futsuuyokin ) 6558248 
 ・西日本シティ銀行 天神支店 普通預金 (Nishinihon shiti ginkou tenjinshiten futsuuyokin) 3087408
(2)口座名 Account name
 両銀行とも熊本地震福岡市義援金 Both accounts are called "熊本地震福岡市義援金"
(3)振込手数料 Transaction fees
    福岡銀行、熊本銀行、親和銀行の窓口からの振込手数料は無料 For Fukuoka Ginkou (Fukuoka Bank), if you donate from a counter from Fukuoka bank, Kumamoto bank, Shinwa bank have 0 transaction fees.
    西日本シティ銀行の本支店窓口からの振込手数料は無料 For Nishinihon City Bank, if you transfer from their counter, there are no transaction fees.
 ※各窓口で「義援金であるので、振込手数料は免除で」とお申し出ください。Please let the staff know that you wish to transfer to the relief fund and ask them to waive the transaction fees.
 ※上記以外の銀行からの振込手数料、およびATM振込、インターネットバンキング振込等で振込を行った場合、振込手数料が免除となりませんのでご注意ください。 If you use an account from a different bank, or transfer by ATM, internet banking, etc, transaction fees will apply.  
(4)受付期間 Collection Period
 平成28年4月17日(日)~5月13日(金)17th April to 13th May

And this is all the info I have on the project.

To be honest, I didn't know how much of a big deal this was until I saw a teacher from Aomori post about it. For the record, Aomori is at the other end of Japan, just below Hokkaido. According to the comments, it's a very effective program that won't result in wastage. All items are necessities and can be kept for long periods of time (unlike food).

Things I have learnt volunteering

After freaking out on Saturday, I decided that the best method to deal with the panic was to volunteer. So on Sunday and Monday morning, I went to help with the With the Kyushu project.

Things I have learnt:

- Toilet paper and diapers are awkward to pack.

- Single toilet paper is the most useful (to stuff spaces) but also the rarest

- towels and blankets are easier to pack.

- if your things are in small boxes, we will have to take them out to put in bigger boxes.

- Oh, and if you're ever donating and you have a cardboard box, please bring your things in a cardboard box. We need them for packing.

- For every troll out there, there's a kind soul who will donate their Yves Saint Laurent blankets and towels for someone that will need it more (there was a surprising amount of branded towels and blankets)

- Parents know best. Quite a few of them brought diaper wipes with the diapers (I was on diaper collection duty on Sunday) because in their words, "they are a set". On Monday, the call for wet tissue went out.

- People do want to help. From the tiny little children (probably not more than four) who were lugging bags of diapers as big as themselves to the student going for a job interview but stopped by to drop off items, people were going out of the way to help. From the bags they handed us, it was clear they weren't just getting rid of unused items in their houses - they were going to convenience stores, supermarkets, etc and buying what was needed just so they could give to those in need. The onion ninjas haunted me that day.

I also managed to talk to people from Kumamoto and Beppu, not to mention I have friends there, and this is what I learnt:

In Kumamoto, there's no water even in areas where the damage is not great. Hence the extremely urgent need for water.

And according to my junior who's home is in the worst hit area, the damage is terrible and no one has earthquake insurance. Luckily, the school is giving out scholarships to help affected students.

As for Beppu, the situation there is pretty dire too, but no one is reporting on it. They aren't even reporting much on Kumamoto city itself. But the girl that came fled from Beppu too, and I know a few people who are now in Tokyo/Fukuoka because Beppu/Oita isn't safe anymore.

Apparently the roads are all cracked, and she had to come to Fukuoka via the back lanes.

Thankfully, the universities there have some food stored up so they could help the students. And thankfully, things seem to have settled down, and Ritsumeikan APU will resume classes on Monday.

Let's all pray that Kumamoto and Beppu get back on their feet soon!

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