Lions have shared the following stories about the disaster in Japan and their ongoing disaster relief efforts.
In the area where I live in Sendai City, the power finally came back on March 17, 2011, and I could start communicating with Lions leaders in the area. Lions of MD332 have created a distribution center for the evacuation locations. Please donate, it doesn’t matter how large or small in quantity. The evacuation period will be long, and we expect shortages of water, non-perishable food, blankets, disposable diapers, baby formula and sanitary items. All other daily household items are also welcome.
Lions will make sure that all items delivered to the location below reach the people in need. We are happy to accept shipments from friends outside of Japan.
To: Shiga Sekizai Ten Attn: Mr. Shigenobu Shiga
4-3-1 Kitahama, Shiogama-shi, Miyagi, ZIP 985-0003, JAPAN
Contact person: PDG Shigenobu Shiga Phone: 81-90-1931-4253
Please note, to fill out a shipping form, please use the above phone number. However, please avoid making direct phone calls to PDG Shiga in English.
The earthquake and tsunami heavily damaged the first floor of PDG Shiga’s office, but he can stay upstairs. He also offers his yard as a distribution center of our efforts, and has been leading our efforts. I want everyone know of his spirit.
I directly spoke with the Executive Administrator of Lions Clubs International the other day. The full support from Lions Clubs International and our friends all over the world encourage me a great deal. Thank you very much.
Past District Governor
In District 330-C, Saitama, Lions will provide bath service for 3,000 evacuees in Saitama Super Arena. Lions are opening four hot spring facilities to 500 people each day from March 23 to March 30. The district will pay for transportation and entrance (bathing) fees with funds collected from all clubs in the district. Thirty volunteers from some of the clubs in the district will also serve on site each day.
Most of the evacuees are from Fukushima near the nuclear plants. They only have cold shower facilities at Saitama Super Arena. The district hopes to relieve their stress by providing hot baths.
Lion Yasuhisa Nakamura
Member of Omiya Kita Lions Club
On March 16, 2011, Kinomoto Lions Club (335-C) brought a 10-ton-truck full of emergency supplies to Fukushima (332-D). The truck included 3,500 servings of instant noodles, 2,400 2-liter bottles of beverages, 5,000 diapers, 1,650 boxes and 1,000 pocket packs of Kleenex, 1,500 disposable hand warmers, 400 cans of food, 300 servings of instant miso soup, 12,000 pairs of disposable chop sticks, as well as buckets, blankets, kerosene and more.
In response to the earthquake, Club President Hidekazu Ohashi suggested sending supplies on March 13, 2011, and the board approved the project the next day. The truck left immediately after our regular meeting on March 15, 2011, and we were able to deliver our relief supplies to 332-D District Governor Kazuo Yamaguchi early the next morning.
Within a short time, club members gathered supplies and arranged transportation. Due to the current situation, every store is limiting purchases, so it was very difficult to collect the necessary supplies. But each member made great efforts, and asked for help from others too. One of a member’s friends donated a large amount of Kleenex. And when I saw my employers going to buy some food during their lunch break, I almost cried. I am so happy that Lions inspired the community and drove them to help others.
We were able to load the truck full. I am proud to be a part of this activity. View photos.
Lion Masahito Hirai
District 335-C, Shiga
Just today, I became able to be in direct contact with PCC Y. Takahashi of MD332. According to PCC Takahashi, PDG Maiya (08-09,332-B) who is from severely suffered Rikuzen Takada City, 25 miles north of Minami Sanriku City, is safe. Also is PDG Taneichi (09-10, 332-B Kamaishi). I have attached (D332-C,08-09) PDG Shiga’s company building photo taken by our fellow Lion who was delivering rescue goods in the area. We do not yet know if Shiga is all right or not.
A few Lion friends, connected through our closed unofficial SNS, have been moving forward. We have already provided or have arranged over 10,000 cases (six 2 liter bottles each) of mineral water and thousands of emergency food supply to D332-C (Miyagi), D332-D (Fukushima), D332-B (Iwate) and D333-E (Ibaragi).
Past International Director, Lions Clubs International
As a director of the biggest private hospital in Gifu prefecture, I have been working hard to deliver relief and medical supplies. I also dispatched a Disaster Medical Assistance Team, which includes doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals from my hospital to the devastated areas in response to a request from the Japanese government. More than 20,000 people may have died and performing their autopsies is also our duty.
I do not think more earthquakes or tsunamis will occur, but we are facing a very serious situation because of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. It is said that the situation could reach the same level of danger as the Chernobyl accident. The Japanese government has asked people who live within 30 kilometers of the plant to evacuate. Some radioactive materials have been detected on some people. I think things will worsen and there will be much to do as a doctor.
Japan Lions are appealing for a donation of 500 million yen, initiated by the 8 council chairpersons from the 8 MDs and ID Furo and ID Yamaura. I should add that I am worried about the members of MD 332 who were severely affected.
I believe that Japan has the power to stand.
I also believe Japan Lions are sturdy.
Japanese people can work together in this hard time.
Past International Director, Lions Clubs International
On March 15, 2011, a few members of our club, Tendo Maizuru Lions Club, came up with the idea to go to Miyagi and have a soup-run. We called our members. Some members immediately agreed to join the team, and others who could not make it brought rice, water, and ingredients for stew. As soon as we finished packing, five of us headed to Miyagi on the same day. At a gas station, we explained we were going to Miyagi for disaster relief, and were able to buy gasoline.
Past Club President Suzuki, of our “sister club” Rifu Lions Club, provided a place to cook and serve more than 100 servings of Japanese traditional potato stew, along with rice balls, apples, beverages and other food that members of Tendo Maizuru Lions Club donated. Evacuees appreciated our efforts, and I was once again reminded that hands-on service is what being a Lion is all about. I am glad and proud to be a Lion. View photos.
Lion Junichi Sagae
Member of Tendo Maizuru Lions Club, 332-E, Yamagata
Lions on LionNet Japan united to send 6,000 two-liter bottles of water and packs of energy-supplement food to Hitachi City in Ibaraki (333-E), one of the earthquake/tsunami affected areas. Two days after the catastrophe, Lion Masamitsu Kitamura, club president of Hitachi Sakura Lions Club, visited the city’s emergency relief headquarters to see what the most urgent needs are, and the Mayor advised that food and water are needed. He passed the information on to Lion Takumi Onogi (334-B, Gifu) on LionNet Japan, who relayed it to Lion Ikuo Hashimoto (335-A, Hyogo).
Lion Hashimoto immediately posted a call for help on LionNet, and more than 32 members responded with generous donations and words of encouragement. Water bottles and food were provided below cost by LionNet member Takao Kotani (331-C, Hokkaido) who owns a mineral water company. The project started with 3,000 bottles, and then added another 3,000 in response to news that villagers around the nuclear power plants are evacuating into Hitachi. The project will continue to help the countless areas that have less media coverage, and thus less attention, but have still been devastated.
Lion Masamitsu Kitamura
President of Hitachi Sakura Lions Club, 333-E
On the day the earthquake occurred, the district had to cancel a charity event that had been planned for two years. The Lions made announcements to people around the event site (Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo) to remain calm, clear the road and sit down. The following video was shot after the first earthquake. In the video, First District Governor Kawai greets attendees. Then, when a second shake is felt, the emcees make announcements to calm the crowd. Watch video.
Two days after the earthquake, the 330-A cabinet wrapped up our regular meeting early and went to Shinjuku station with donation boxes in our hands. Soon after we started asking for donations, a young woman came to us and said, “This is for the earthquake in Miyagi, right? I haven’t been able to contact my friend. Please pass this on (onegaishimasu).” She put 1,000 yen in the box with tears in her pleading eyes.
For two hours, we raised our voices as if we were trying to wipe out our own sad feelings. So many people, most of them young, pulled out their wallets once they realized what we were raising funds for. When we said “thank you,” many people said “onegaishimasu” (meaning “please pass this on”), “we count on you” or simply “thank you.” Some of them were crying. One young woman who donated also joined our fundraising efforts. Watch video.
Lion Junichi Kayashima,
Member of Tokyo Edogawa Higashi Lions Club, 330-A, Tokyo
The cabinet of 330-C, Saitama, posted an announcement about district-wide fund raising activity to general public. They also created posters, flyers and activity instructions for clubs within the district to use.
Lion Takuya Yagi