Lion Kazumi Kimura remembered the confusion and disruptions in Kashiwazaki after the 6.6 earthquake hit the Japanese city. “Nothing was functioning,” he recalled. “Nor were the city councilman … panicking and of no use. We had no one but the Self Defense force who we could turn to. However, after a while, when it came to community-based, detailed assistance, I found the Lions’ power enormous.” Kimura was part of a recent panel discussion in Niigata involving Japanese Lions on preparing for and responding to earthquakes. Lions who participated referenced both the 2007 Chuetsu earthquake recalled by Kimuara and an earthquake in 2004 in the same region. The four Lions clubs in Kashiwazaki and Kariwa participated in relief efforts after the 2007 quake, despite being personally affected. Lions from other clubs across Japan also lent a hand as did university students. The volunteers cooked food at relief stations and 180 Lions delivered rice to victims at 1,200 temporary homes. “When I first heard you were going to visit each of these houses, I doubted you could do it. But I was surprised to see all these members, despite being afflicted themselves, rush over and deliver the rice at once,” said the mayor of Kashiwazaki. Lions operated their hot lunch service for nearly a month after the earthquake. The friendships and networks formed after the 2004 earthquake helped Lions serve after the latest disaster, panelists agreed. The Lions also discussed improving communications and delegating responsibilities. The 2007 earthquake killed 11 people, injured more than 1,000 and flattened 350 buildings while the 2004 quake killed 40 people.
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