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West Japan Flood Victims

$4,437 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 97 people in 7 months
Created July 8, 2018
***UPDATE:  This campaign is closed. Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, liked, and followed.***


Most of west-central Japan experienced heavy rains over the weekend of July 6th~8th that resulted in major flooding and landslides across the region. The region where I live was greatly affected, with over 100,000 people in evacuation shelters. The hardest hit region was Mabi, an outlying region of the larger Kurashiki City.  Mabi is a semi-rural area with a large population of elderly people. The Odagawa River flows next to Mabi, and was so full of water from the torrential rainfalls that the levees broke in *three* places, filling the town with muddy water. The water rose literally to the rooflines. The city of Kurashiki issued an urgent evacuation warning at 4:07am on Friday, July 6th, but many did not hear the warning or were unable to escape in time.  All residents of the town lost their homes, cars, and all possessions, and of course many people also lost their lives. 

The floodwaters are still high, and rescue operations are still ongoing. Once the waters have receded, the townspeople can perhaps begin to rebuild their lives but that will be a very long, extremely difficult, and expensive process that is still a long way in the future. This GoFundMe account has been set up to assist with relief efforts, including but not limited to funds for evacuation shelter needs. Please donate as much as you can. 100% of all funds received will be given to organizations directly involved in rescue, evacuation, and rebuilding efforts. To date, there are no English-language sites where donations can be made, therefore I felt the need for this page.

Who am I?: I am a long-term foreign resident in a nearby town who is actively involved in assisting the foreign community in Okayama, Japan. These relief efforts, however, are not restricted to the foreign community but the greater community of nearby Mabi.
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FINALLY!

Finally I was able to organize and donate everyone's funds earlier this week. Withdrawing the money from the fund page and having it transferred to Japan was no easy task, and I'd like to thank my sister for helping me to get this part of the process accomplished.

In addition to everyone's contributions to this fund page, I was able to collect a little more in cash in Japan for a total of 500,000 yen. Wow!! That is more than DOUBLE what I anticipated to raise (the original fund target was $2,000).

After much research and consultation with various people, I decided to donate the money to the Okayama Prefectural Government, which has recently established a new department specifically to assist with disaster relief efforts. Despite my sometimes-dislike of government agencies, I am willing to concede that the prefectural governent is able to see the "big picture" and know who and where need assistance most.

The photos show the actual money after it had been transferred and converted into Japanese yen, and me passing the envelope to the government rep. I bought a special envelope especially for charity money and enclosed a list of everyone who contributed -- I want the government to see and understand how many people (it was 99!) felt strongly enough to donate. The rep was very grateful and moved by everyone kindness.

*note: the government offices receive funding for staffing, admin duties, supplies, etc. from the national government and from taxes. I was assured that these funds will not be used for any of those things, but rather relief and rebuilding efforts.

At the current time, there are still approximately 500 people in shelters & temporary housing. Many roads are still blocked and damaged from landslides, and several schools in the Mabi area are unable to be used. Most people with homes in Mabi have stripped the inner walls, ceilings, and flooring that were water damaged and will begin the very long process of rebuilding their lives.

I want to thank everyone a final time for your generously. Much love to each and every one of you <3

--Andrea
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*Update 7/31*

Apologies for the delay in updating. Of course, clean-up efforts are still ongoing, thousands of people are still in evacuation centers or temporary shelters, and everyone who wasn't affected directly is still trying to do what they can to help those who were affected. The town is still (and will be, for a very long time) largely filled with debris and mud. Those whose homes were flooded are cleaning up; of course this means shoveling out mud and carry out debris, but for most of the town it also means tearing out flooring, walls, and ceilings, since these parts of the house were completely soaked with muddy water. I've attached a few photos of friends' houses so that everyone can see exactly what "clean up" means in this contest. Homeowners now have the task of replacing all that flooring, walls, and ceiling, in addition to purchasing new electronics, home goods, and cars.

On a bright(er) note, the city of Kurashiki is offering free rent in apartments for up to 2 years to affected Mabi residents. Hopefully this will be enough time for people to start to get back on their feet.


On a final note, this campaign will close on Friday, August 3rd so that we can get funds to those who need it. Again, a big thank you to everyone who contributed and/or shared the link to this page. You guys are awesome!


(Once funds have been transfered from the campaign fund, they need to be deposited into an American bank account, then transfered to an account in Japan. This is likely to take a few days at least, but I will be posting photos of transactions and receipts for the sake of transparency).
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(7/14)
We surpassed the original campaign amount of $3,000. A new goal has been set for $4,000 >> let's see if we can get there!

Thank you to each and every one of you.
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Update 7/14:
Clean up operations are starting in Mabi-cho as well as in neighboring Soja City, Okayama City, and the town of Yakage. Many people are volunteering through the organized volunteered campaigns in Kurashiki and Okayama Cities, which is advised for safety reasons (insurance and transportation is provided for volunteers).

The townspeople and volunteers are moving furniture, tatami mats, and everything else that got wet out onto the streets for pickup. The entire town is filled with garbage and thick mud. Because of the amount of garbage that has been set outside on the streets for pick-up the roads are even narrower than they usually are. One spark of good news is that water service has been restored, and while not suitable for drinking, it can be used for cleaning, at least.

It is estimated that 4,600 homes were completely submerged in the flood, and that another 5,300 were flooded at the foundation level. Approximately 4,000 people are in evacuation centers, but that does not include those who are taking refuge with family and friends, or in temples or other non-official locations.

To see what the town looks like, click on the link below (the video embedded in the article was taken on 7/12). Also, a special "Thank You!" goes out to Takahiko Inoue, who has not only donated several times to this fund, but has been tirelessly volunteering on-the-ground as well.

(photos for this update were provided by Mr. Inoue and are used with permission)

http://www.sanyonews.jp/article/750717/1/
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$4,437 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 97 people in 7 months
Created July 8, 2018
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