The rainy season. Kyushu is among the first to start its rainy season in Japan and this year it began in early June. In some areas of Kyushu, the rainy season is called “nagashi”in the local dialect. There are various theories as to the origin of the word “nagashi,” which means “to run water” in standard Japanese, and one of them asserts that it originates from “the heavy rain that sweeps everything away” during the rainy season.
This is the period when disasters such as floods and landslides are likely to occur across the nation every year. Risks of such disasters increased in quake-hit Kumamoto as the major earthquakes in April loosened the ground of the region. In fact, downpours, which began on June 19, caused landslides and flooding of houses in the area. As an increasingly active seasonal rain front had brought heavy rain after June 20, evacuation advisories were issued to more than 400,000 people in the four prefectures of Kyushu. “Another mountain landslide occurred” and “We will never finish restoring our damaged paddy and farm fields” are heartbreaking voices we hear of the residents who had been living in coexistence with nature.
In this issue of the Civic Force News Letter, following the extra edition issued in May, we will report on “what’s happening now”in areas affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake as well as the current state of our support activities and all-out efforts to improve the lives of evacuees during the rainy season and in the extremely hot weather. We will also announce the results of the photo contest carried out as part of the “Dream Support Project,” a youth support program designed to support high school and university students of the three prefectures affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Furthermore, this edition includes the report on the activities of the “Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD),” which was established after the Great East Japan Earthquake along with an NPO helping disaster-affected areas in Asia.