Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps Helps Flood Victims

Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps was mobilized in Aichi Prefecture, which was hit hardest by the torrential rains brought by the autumnal rain front and Typhoon No. 14 between September 11 and 12. The Shonai River broke through an embankment while 100 meters of flood defenses on the Shin River, which runs parallel to the Shonai, also collapsed. A total of 78,000 buildings were flooded above or below floor level, making it the most devastating storm to hit Aichi Prefecture since the Ise Bay Typhoon of 1959.

In Nishibiwajima, which is the center of the f1ood in Aichi Prefecture, approximately 6,500 houses were inundated. On September 15, Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps Director Shin’ichi Uemura visited the town’s disaster counteraction bureau, which requested that the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps go to the densely built-up area where the heavy-duty automobiles of the Self Defense Force could not enter. The Aichi Diocese Corps set up a disaster counteraction committee in the diocese administration office, called the members of the corps together, and asked the district leaders to invite Yoboku and followers to participate in the corps. After the evacuation order was called off on September 16, the Aichi Diocese Corps, which consisted of 182 people, was sent to Nishibiwajima along with 10 two-ton trucks to remove the bulky household wastes generated from flooded houses such as electrical appliances and furniture.

On September 17, the Nara Diocese Corps, which consisted of 23 people, and the Hyogo Diocese Corps, which consisted of 33 people, joined the Aichi Diocese Corps to gather the large amount of debris and take it to dumping grounds, using 20 trucks that were sent from Oyasato. On September 21, the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps sent several diocese corps that consisted of a total of 131 people: 22 in the Kyoto Diocese Corps, 88 in the Mie Diocese Corps, and 21 in the Shiga Diocese Corps. On the same day, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi visited Nishibiwajima to encourage the corps members, and he also met the town’s mayor to offer consolation. Director Uemura said: “It may have taken forever to restore the town only by the members of the corps. We took heart because many Yoboku and followers participated in the disaster relief hinokishin with us, and we were able to work efficiently because the authorities and companies concerned complied with our needs. I have never seen any disaster relief activity conducted in such close cooperation with one another.”

The rains also caused the flooding of the Kamimura River, which damaged houses as well as routes 257 and 418 in Kamiyahagi, Gifu Prefecture. The Gifu Diocese Corps, consisting of 31 members, also took action to restore Kamiyahagi between September 15 and 17.

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