Supporters and friends,

We at Sebastopol World Friends want to give you a brief update about the situation in Kumamoto Prefecture, after the terrible earthquakes that occurred there last April. Many of you reached out at the time through our Facebook page or with personal enquiries to find out how our friends in Takeo and throughout the region as a whole were faring. As you may know, Takeo and Kumamoto are only 60 miles apart.

Although the number of deaths was thankfully fewer than it was feared, the destruction of property was great. Takeo City has been playing an active role in their neighbor’s relief effort. It is expected that our friends will be working hard to help rebuild their communities for some time.

According to the Japan Times, for the Kumamoto Prefectural Government the total cost of rebuilding from the earthquakes will probably reach 2.5 trillion yen (The Japan Times, August 16, 2016). “Many weeks that have passed since the disaster and the long term stress is starting to take its toll. The need for psychosocial support is greater than ever,” said Ms Chikako Itagaki, Chief Nurse at the Japanese Red Cross Society Medical Centre (from an article published on June 21, 2016 in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, found here: Growing need for psychosocial support to earthquake victims in Kumamoto

In recognition of the deep connection that we share with Takeo and their neighbors, the Board of Directors of the Sebastopol World Friends sent $500 this month to contribute towards the rebuilding efforts that Takeo City is leading in Kumamoto. We thought our supporters and membership should know about this action we have taken.

If YOU would like to help, there are many ways to do so, including the following options which were recommended for use by SWF members by the president of the JET Alumni Association of Northern California:

1. The official Kumamoto Prefecture donation page (for bank transfer):

http://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/kiji_15456.html

2. Global Giving donation page (for credit card):
https://www.globalgiving.org/kumamotoearthquake

Although our contributions may be modest in scope, our sister city friendship, our commitment to each other, and our willingness to be involved over the long term are powerful and lead us toward greater peace, one small helping act at a time.

Thank you,
Sebastopol World Friends

Photo: A Japanese Red Cross staff attends to an elderly woman in an evacuation centre in Mashiki town. Almost 10,000 people are still living in evacuation centres in Kumamoto prefecture following the two earthquakes. Photo Credit: Japanese Red Cross Society