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2020/08/16

【Kyushu Heavy Rain 2020 Floods Assistance】 NPO Partner Project Hosts Consultations for Housing Reconstruction

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Almost two months have passed since the deadly torrential rain on July 4. The summer heat is intensifying in the affected areas around Kyushu and construction efforts are underway. Due to COVID-19, there is a critical shortage of manpower and necessary relief items. 

Civic Force's joint emergency assistance team, ARROWS (Airborne Rescue and Relief Operations With Search), began emergency assistance activities in Kumamoto Prefecture on July 4. Civic Force is now assisting local partners through NPO Partner Projects in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures while continuing to provide relief items to evacuation centers and partner organizations in Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures.

One of our partner organizations is NPO Liera (formerly Hichiku Volunteer Center) which provides disaster recovery assistance in Hita City, Oita Prefecture. Hita City suffered from extensive damages during the 2017 heavy rain. They began providing evacuation center management support, disaster risk reduction activities, and community development.

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Liera is working in the heavily affected Amagase hot spring area and provides a matching service to connect victims with volunteers and relief items. Liera's assistance activities also include supporting a tourism recovery project launched by young people and hosting consultation workshops to discuss reconstruction efforts. Through various initiatives, Liera is serving the affected communities with mid to long term strategies.

On August 8, Liera hosted a second round of online consultation workshops to discuss housing reconstruction. The workshop was participated by many local residents from three locations. The participants asked "Our house is now inhabitable but it was graded only partially damaged. The house is part of a collecting housing unit with two other houses. We can't dismantle the house either," "Our hot spring is damaged. Is there any assistance available," and many more questions related to disaster certificates and relief payments. Each question was thoroughly answered by lawyers and experts. During a post-workshop debriefing session at each venue, the participants expressed their relief, "I no longer have unanswered questions" and "I feel relieved."

Liera's director, Mr. Kenya Matsunaga said, "I've visited the hot spring area many times in the past month inviting people to the workshops. We are having more participants each time and I think people are starting to share their honest feelings with us. We are advocating to stay resilient, be patient, and be aware of available resources as we build on our past disaster experiences."


In addition to the consultation workshops, Liera has provided relief items and clean-up work in a stranded village and hosted recreational activities. Liera will continue strengthening the partnership with the community residents and implement tailored assistance activities for reconstruction efforts.