volunteering in Asakita WardSoka Gakkai members volunteering on August 24 in Asakita Ward, one of the worst-hit areas of Hiroshima

In mid-August, the prefectures of Hiroshima, Kyoto and Gifu in Japan experienced torrential rain of record proportions which caused disruptions to transportation, floods and landslides.

In response to the August 16–17 floods that especially affected Kyoto and Gifu prefectures, Soka Gakkai in Kyoto set up an emergency relief center and dispatched volunteers to support the flood victims. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message of encouragement that was shared during visits with members who had been affected by the flooding. On August 20, volunteers from the Soka Gakkai young men’s group in Kyoto cleared mud and debris and removed damaged furniture from the homes of those affected.

Also on August 20 and 21, torrential rain triggered landslides that engulfed dozens of homes and killed more than 70 people in the city of Hiroshima. Due to the extent of the damage, Soka Gakkai set up further emergency relief centers in Hiroshima city and in the Chugoku region.

On August 24, over 100 Soka Gakkai men’s division and young men’s division members from Hiroshima have been visiting the most devastated areas of the city to offer practical support such as the clearing away of mud. One Soka Gakkai member who was a victim of the landslide expressed the determination to actualize the Buddhist principle of “changing poison into medicine” in responding to this disaster.

[Adapted from articles in the August 19, 21, 22, 24 and 25, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]

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