Large numbers of volunteers gathered over the weekend to help recover areas from the typhoon that devastated eastern Japan on 12 in October, many repaying the aid they received in past disasters.
Despite these efforts, there is still a shortage of manpower needed to recover from the considerable flooding and other damage caused by Typhoon No. 19, which left more than 80 people dead.
A total of 2.530 volunteers gathered at 20 October in Nagano, where the Chikumagawa River flooded its banks and part of the city. A group of 15 volunteers helped clean up the home of Etsuko Yamaguchi, 52 years old.
“The volunteers were in a good mood, and that encouraged me,” said Yamaguchi.
Kiichi Fujikura, 71, director of a local community center, arrived with a large group that was scheduled to attend a sporting event, which was canceled to provide assistance.
"What we can do in a single day is limited," Fujikura said. "The challenge is how much we can do before winter comes."
In Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, about 500 people gathered across Japan on 20 in October to help remove mud from homes, carry furniture and remove debris.
Masayuki Shikano, 41, who came from Fukushima Prefecture, helped transport soggy drawers and mattresses in a city-run residence, 1 km south of Marumori Prefecture.
Shikano's parents' home in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture was damaged by Typhoon No. 15, and Kumamoto volunteers kindly helped clear the fallen trees.
“I came here because I wanted to do what I can (for the typhoon victims),” he said.
Fumiko Otsuki, 58, who received help from Shikano, lost her home in the city when the Great Japan Earthquake occurred in eastern 2011. She moved to the municipal residence, but times have been difficult as her husband died in January.
Fifteen members of a baseball club at an agricultural school in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, also offered assistance in Marumori, wearing overalls to grow and carry shovels.
Among other cleaning jobs, they took items such as tables and washing machines out of a house belonging to Atsushi Tanimizu, 88, which had been flooded due to the typhoon.
Tanimizu, who lost his wife three years ago, said items like soaked rugs were heavy: “I couldn't carry them on my own. The young people they visited provided a great help. ”
The baseball team's practice fields were flooded and their equipment was carried away by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They resumed their practice using other school grounds and equipment provided by people from all over Japan.
Recalling the generosity shown by others after the disaster, team manager Toru Akaizawa, 39 decided that his team should volunteer, canceling a practice game.
"There are things that need to be done before baseball practice," he said. "It's thanks to the people who helped us that we can play."
Team leader Shunsuke Matsui, 16, said: “We want to repay the gesture of many volunteers who came to help us after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
"I realized once again that we wouldn't play baseball without their generosity."
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