• Kyodo

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The social welfare council in the town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, which was heavily damaged by one of last week’s earthquakes, announced Wednesday that they will start accepting volunteers from Thursday to sort out relief supplies and provide other support to evacuees.

Any volunteers should provide their own meals and lodging. Details are available on the council’s website at jtim.es/4mTdzI.

The Kumamoto City Council of Social Welfare will also accept volunteers from Friday to help with cleanup operations. Transportation and lodging fees will not be covered, but volunteers will be able to use the city’s tram network free to move about within the city.

The village of Minamiaso also announced it will start accepting volunteers.

On Tuesday, writer Haruki Murakami issued a message via the official website of women’s magazine Crea and asked for donations to the disaster-hit areas.

Murakami, who visited Kumamoto last year to write a travel article for the magazine, said he strongly hopes he can be of some help to the quake victims.

Meanwhile, many residents who have no access to water supplies are gathering at Ikenokawa Suigen springs in Minamiaso to obtain water to drink, to be used for flushing toilets and for laundry.

Hidekazu Fujioka, 48, a self-employed man from the city of Kumamoto, filled 20 big plastic bottles with drinking water for his parents and neighbors.

An 80-year-old female farmer who arrived with a large bucket of laundry said she was reminded of the old days when she had to hand-wash clothes.

In 2008, natural springs in the area were chosen by the environment ministry as one of the 100 best waters of the Heisei era.

“The blessing of water will never change even after the disaster. I would like that aspect (of the village) to be known, not only the damages it suffered,” said a village spokesman.


Kumamoto quake info: where to go, how to help

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