The devastating torrential rains and subsequent flooding and landslides in western Japan — Hiroshima, Okayama, Ehime, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Kagoshima, Hyogo, Gifu, Shiga, Kochi, Saga — have left over 200 people dead so far with rescuers still searching for dozens more. The official toll of 219 is expected to rise — with at least 21 still missing — while a punishing heatwave has pushed the thermometer above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and raised fears for vulnerable people.
About 7,000 people remain in shelters, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
While the Japanese government has announced the use of reserve funds to supply basic items such as food and water as well as air conditioners and other necessities to support disaster-hit areas, more help is needed.
Many main roads in the disaster-hit areas have been blocked due to the flood waters and landslide damage and many regions are still without fresh water — including Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture and Kurashiki in Okayama Prefecture. Donations for water, bathing needs and temporary shelter for those affected remain high.
Aid supplies and volunteers have been arriving to affected areas, although a local official in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, said there are “not enough people or vehicles” to distribute the abundant supplies.
Regardless of your location, there are a number of ways that you can stay up-to-date on the situation, find support and help in the ongoing disaster relief effort.
(This page will be updated as new resources become available.)
Urgent Information & Relief
A list of local resources for information on what’s happening in the region.
- Google Person Finder
- Japan Meteorological Agency:
- Okayama and Hiroshima area information:
- Real-time updates from SDF’s official Twitter (Japanese)
At the moment, the local authorities are asking volunteers not to show up due to the dangers from potential landslides and lack of accommodation facilities and supplies. Read more on that on Japan Today here: “Volunteers urged to be patient before going to flood hit areas.”
Most services recommend sending money as it will be administered by professionals in the field who can ensure that it is used for exactly the right purpose. However, as we have listed below, there are plenty of other ways to help, as well.
- Caritas. Emergency relief fund set up by the Catholic Central Council of Caritas Japan that takes donations via bank transfer.
- Peace Boat. An emergency response page for western Japan aid that takes donations via credit card or bank transfer.
- Rakuten. Page setup by the online giant for western Japan aid donations via Rakuten Super Points, credit card or bank transfer.
- Campfire (Japanese). Crowdfunding page for donations with a Campfire, Facebook or Twitter account.
- Furusato Choice (Japanese). Uses Japan’s “hometown tax” system to send money to municipal governments.
- Japanese Red Cross Society (Japanese). You can also help out with funds at their English donation website.
- Line (Japanese). Donate via the Line Pay or Line Point System on the smartphone application.
- Satofull (Japanese).Uses Japan’s “hometown tax” system to send money to municipal governments. A Satofull or Yahoo. Japan ID is required.
Support & Medical Services
A few organizations to which you can donate by giving time or your services.
- 2nd Harvest Japan. If you are interested in helping out, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check out their Facebook for updates and English website for volunteering opportunities.
- Japan Red Cross Society. To make a blood donation, call the Japan Red Cross Society at 03-3437-7081 (don’t forget to check guidelines for blood donor eligibility).
Disaster Preparedness Survey For Foreigners
Even if you are not in the affected areas, there is a survey now being circulated to better help foreigners be prepared in times of disasters in Japan. The survey is being conducted by a doctor, Yumi Yamamoto, in Kochi Prefecture. Take the survey here.