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Posted on 2024, Feb 13th by Satoshi Katada

Support for Türkiye Earthquake Disaster

February 6th marks one year since the disaster occurred. After the disaster, it was widely covered in the media, but recently it is not talked about much and it feels like it has been erased from people's memories. However, just as the volunteer activities after the Tohoku Earthquake are still continuing, such support is actually needed over a long period of time, and I think it is something that should not be forgotten.

Before coming to Türkiye, I was seconded to the ferry company of MOL Group connecting Osaka and Kyushu and was in charge of the passenger department. At that time, the Kumamoto Earthquake occurred, and all reservations were canceled, and when I was wondering what to do, we started approaching from a sales perspective to try to arrange transportation for volunteer people. The ferry is a good match for group volunteers who often travel by bus, and many people have come to use it.

Support for Türkiye Earthquake Disaster MOL Turkey

I also made general arrangements such as accommodation, and often accompanied student groups. And for the first time in my life, I was able to see the site of an earthquake disaster. The house called ‘’rubble'' that I saw in the TV, was definitely not “rubble” and this is the place of memories for the people who lived there. The devastation at the site of the earthquake could not be conveyed unless you were there. Once I found out about this, I was driven by a sense of mission to respond by sending people to the site. Based on this experience, I have decided to visit the place of earthquake regularly. I visited there in June, August, and October last year to keep an eye on the current state of reconstruction.

Support for Türkiye Earthquake Disaster MOL Turkey

I also learned that support is completely different from what we were doing in Japan. It is not possible to visit temporary housing without the permission of the local government, and it is difficult to collect donations by ourselves. As for donations, they cannot be sent directly to local governments, and everything is done through AFAD. In this case, we cannot directly convey our feelings and messages. We mainly visit Hatay area, and in that area we often see tents and container houses supported by China, Qatar, Korea and Taiwan etc. , but we have never seen anything with Japanese national flags, like that from Japan. Some of the support from AFAD may also come from support from Japan.

Support for Türkiye Earthquake Disaster MOL Turkey

The local government of Kirkhan, which we visit every time and cooperate with our visits, has told us that they need a container house to carry out their administration, and after many meetings with the local government, we have decided to donate the container house itself. Since we were able to confirm that there were no problems.

On February 7th, we visited Kirkhan again and handed over three container houses. Since we were able to outsource the production of the container house to a Kirkhan company, we were also able to contribute to local employment.

Support for Türkiye Earthquake Disaster MOL Turkey

On the day of delivery, I was able to meet with the main users at each installation site, and I was able to see the smiles on the faces of the recipients and receive heartwarming words from the neighbors. After several visits, I was able to feel that I was able to provide what was needed. This time, we donated one container house from the company, one from the staffs, and one from me. We have also approached Japanese companies in Turkiye, and we have already received a statement of support from several companies, so it looks like we will be able to continue the activity from now on.

In this year 2024, which marks the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Turkiye, we would like to continue to carry out activities, however small, that are befitting the start of a new 100 years.