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Earthquake Relief Aid in Japan

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In Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association News from Japan…

On the afternoon of January 1, 2024, in the midst of New Year celebrations, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale shook the Noto Peninsula in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture, with hundreds of aftershocks that followed. At least 241 people lost their lives, and thousands of residents had to stay in evacuation shelters as structural damages were assessed. Thousands of households were left without water or power.

Upon learning of this tragic event, our Most Beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) requested: “Arrange accountant to send US$25,000 to help the most desperate, such as orphans, elderly, those without aid... with Master’s deep condolences and sorrowful prayer. May Buddha bless the affected.”

Immediately after the earthquake, our Tokyo Association members contacted officials in Noto Peninsula’s communities to determine what was needed most. Our Association members purchased supplies and departed on January 5 for the affected areas they could reach. After 11 hours of travel, our relief team arrived in Nanao City, which had been severely affected by the earthquake. There we visited three evacuation centers - Takashina, Tokuda, and Yatagō Community Centers - where some 600 evacuees were accommodated.

At all three locations, we delivered portable stoves, paper plates and cups, chopsticks, vegetable and fruit juice packets, vegan curry packets, vegan cup ramen, sanitizing sheets, and other vegan snacks, as well as Supreme Master TV cards and Alternative Living flyers. The evacuees, who had fled quickly from their homes, welcomed these provisions. Some became tearful as they expressed their gratitude to Master.

“Reverend Ching Hai, thank You very much for promptly rushing to our center today and giving us so many thoughtful goods. We will make use of these relief supplies for victims. Thank You very much again.”

“Thank you very much for giving us plenty of supplies today. Thank You so much, Reverend Supreme Master Ching Hai. When schools start, the evacuees [now] staying at schools will have nowhere to go, so they will come to us. In that case, we can really utilize what we have just received from you, so it will be very helpful. We are very grateful to you. Thank you very much for coming all the way from Tokyo!”

“Reverend Supreme Master Ching Hai, thank You so much for Your relief supplies. Those help a lot. There are 400 to 500 evacuees here at present. After the big earthquake, people came to this evacuation center with only the clothes they happened to be wearing of various styles. We really appreciate it.”

Next, our relief team traveled to the western coastal town of Shika. At the Shika Town Office, we delivered the relief supplies they had requested of paper plates, paper cups, paper bowls, disposable chopsticks, sandbags, string, and blue tarpaulin sheets. “We feel very grateful to those who are willing to help us and carry relief supplies voluntarily. Thank you very much again.”

During the week of January 14, we went to the severely affected Anamizu Town, where numerous households were still without power and/or water. While buying relief supplies for Anamizu, we had an opportunity to tell store employees that we had come from Tokyo. They were touched and had tears in their eyes when they heard that we came from so far away. In Anamizu, we saw that the government’s Self-Defense Forces trucks were parked at the site of the local evacuation center, with support teams preparing to distribute meals and transport supplies. As we brought the relief supplies into the evacuation center, the staff and volunteers bowed their heads in a traditional expression of thanks for our efforts in bringing this assistance from afar.

We also stopped and dropped off relief materials at Nanao City Hall, which was serving as a distribution base for the severely damaged areas where water was still cut off.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Master for Her Blessings and Love toward the earthquake-affected people. We felt Master’s Blessings in these affected areas, as well as Her protection of our relief team, which was a great encouragement to us during our efforts. We will continue to be close to the victims and provide as much support as possible.

After reading our Tokyo Association members’ report, Master kindly replied: “Dear good-hearted team: Thank you for your report. I do not feel well seeing your people suffering so much, and am able to help little. May our world become soon what we all wish for it to be. Buddha bless!”

We extend our heartfelt appreciation for Master’s loving Care for the earthquake victims in need. Our thankfulness is also for the dedicated relief efforts of our Japanese Association members. Wishing all the quake-affected a smooth and swift restoration of their fulfilling daily lives, in the protective love of the Buddhas.

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