NOVEMBER 26, 2014
EBINA, Japan—Heavy rainfalls in Hiroshima led to catastrophic landslides that killed some 74 people and displaced over 1,600 on the morning of August 20, 2014. The branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan reports that no Witnesses were killed or injured, although eight homes of the Witnesses were damaged.
About 8.5 inches [218 mm] of rain fell over the course of only three hours, causing extensive damage and prompting the government to initiate a national rescue effort. The Japan branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses quickly established a disaster relief committee and organized Witness volunteers to help with the clean-up. The clean-up crews formed a bucket brigade to remove dirt and sand that had washed into homes. The volunteers also disinfected cleared areas after storing any salvageable household goods.
National newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun documented the efforts of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who survived the accident. The newspaper reported that Kayoko Nakamizo, who lives in the Yagi district of Asaminami Ward, escaped out of her own home and then “she knocked on each door, checking on the safety of the residents.” As a result, Kayoko was able to help rescue a neighbor and assist others in evacuating from the disaster area.
Ichiki Matsunaga, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan, states: “We empathize with those who have been affected by the mudslides. In spite of the difficult situation, we are maintaining a positive attitude as we do our best to provide practical help and comfort to our neighbors.”
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
Japan: Ichiki Matsunaga, tel. +81 46 233 0005