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Back to listJul 17, 2007

Soka Gakkai Initiates Relief Efforts Following Earthquake in Niigata Prefecture

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On the morning of July 16, 2007, a powerful earthquake hit Niigata Prefecture, centered on the Chuetsu Coast in northwestern Japan. Measuring upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the temblor left at least 11 dead and injured more than 1,000, while flattening hundreds of homes and leaving thousands homeless. One of the hardest hit areas was Kashiwazaki City, where a nuclear power plant suffered damage that caused a fire and radioactive water to spill into the Sea of Japan.

Soka Gakkai set up disaster relief centers in Niigata and Nagano Prefectures to assist in local emergency rescue and relief efforts. Soka Gakkai leaders in Shinetsu and Niigata went to Kashiwazaki City to assess the damage first hand and encourage local members in the affected areas. Soka Gakkai youth division members are delivering food and drinking water by motorbike. Over 100 quake victims have taken refuge at a Soka Gakkai center in Kashiwazaki.

In a condolence message to those affected by the quake, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda expressed his heartfelt sympathy with prayers for a swift recovery. He encouraged them to take care of their health and to prevail over their present hardships.

As of July 17, the city's power was still out, and efforts to restore the water and gas supply have encountered obstacles. Stretches of road have been made impassable due to bulging and cave-ins.

Following a series of disastrous quakes that also hit Niigata in late October 2004, eight Soka Gakkai centers served as emergency relief and evacuation centers, providing temporary shelter to over 800 local residents.

[Adapted from an article in the July 18, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]