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Yokota floods support to Kanuma
A volunteer with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection services searches for his boots early in the morning outside the gym of an elementary school at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. The volunteers, more than 60 Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base, helped remove thousands of pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)
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Airmen provide flood relief to Kanuma

Posted 9/17/2015   Updated 9/17/2015 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

9/17/2015 - KANUMA CITY, TOCHIGI PREFECTURE, Japan -- Tropical Storm Etau hit eastern Japan with a large amount of rain, 26 inches total between Sept. 6-11, causing floods and landslides. More than 12,000 homes were flooded throughout the Greater Tokyo region and 350 landslides struck Tochigi prefecture alone.

In response, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron put together a 60-member team to assist in flood relief efforts in Kanuma city, Tochigi prefecture.

The teams arrived Sept. 13, working out of the local elementary school, and stayed on ground through Sept. 15, helping local residents restore their properties to pre-flood conditions.

Splitting into multiple teams, the volunteer force cut tons of lumber that had rolled onto a local ice rink and farmer's field, allowing for much easier removal. They also cleared the farmer's irrigation drains and repaired broken items around his property.

Upon completion of the school and nearest farmer's land, the teams dispersed throughout the local area, clearing mud from driveways, garages and yards for the young and elderly. They also unclogged an irrigation system covered in more than six feet of mud for another farmer.

Maj. Korrine Takeyama, 374 CES operations flight chief and volunteer lead, said her 'guys' were happy to help.

"It's been fantastic," she said. "We love doing this. It's our bread and butter. We train for this--doing humanitarian work."

Takeyama said the volunteers would stay until the area was 100 percent restored if they could, but mission requirements only allowed for three days. The 374 CES commander offered a 48-hour pass to anyone who wanted to support the volunteer effort. A few Japanese workers even took leave in order to volunteer.

"The support we received was overwhelming," Takeyama said. "Everyone was willing to give their time. It's been great to see the squadron come together for such a good cause."

The volunteers were there to assist the local community, but Takeyama said they also supported a coworker.

"It was a chance to not only help a community in need, but also support one of our own who grew up in Kanuma," she said.

Marco Furlan-Kaneko, 374 CES portfolio optimization element chief, spent years of his childhood in Kanuma. Born in Guatemala, son to a Guatemalan father and Japanese mother, Kaneko moved to Japan at the age of three and lived there until he was 11.

Relaxing on his off-day, Kaneko stumbled upon the flooding information while watching the news. He wasn't sure if it was his childhood city or not, but he was drawn to help.

"They were calling for volunteers and were in need of bodies," Furlan-Kaneko said.
He took his found information and contacted the squadron leadership. A few hours later, 60 volunteers were scheduled to leave early the following morning.

"I've been in commander's calls and working with our Japanese partners is always the message," Furlan-Kaneko said. "These past few days, I truly know what that feels like. It is a sad reason why we are here, but it made the community come together, it made us come together and work toward a common goal."

The morning of the volunteer's final day, the local elementary school invited the volunteers to a presentation. The principle expressed his gratitude to the team for their support in restoring the community.

"We don't know how we could ever thank you," the principle said. "But, what we can do, is teach our children the volunteer spirit that you have showed us and when a disaster like this hits again they will go out and help others."

10/1/2015 7:20:46 AM ET
Thank you very mach
kazuya mizuno, FussaTokyojapan
9/26/2015 6:20:41 AM ET
Thank you very much.
h.tanaka, kyoto
9/25/2015 9:55:51 AM ET
Thank you very much for your kindness.We respect and appreciate your behavior indeed.You are real Tomodachis.
Naoki, Kanagawa Japan
9/24/2015 8:51:34 AM ET
Thank you very much
masa.chikawa, kobe Japan
9/24/2015 4:16:27 AM ET
Even if I was in same Japan the impotent feeling which can be made nothing was felt.I noticed a wonderful hero playing an active part today.I thank sincerely.Thank you very much.
Kiyoko Mandokoro, KYOTO JP
9/24/2015 12:05:35 AM ET
Thank you very much
Sadahide Ono, IWATE
9/23/2015 9:36:29 PM ET
Thank you very much for your help in Kanuma.
Tam, Tokyo
9/23/2015 12:22:22 PM ET
Thank you so much for your effort and kindness.
Ryuji, Kanagawa
9/23/2015 10:56:04 AM ET
We are grateful to the US Air Force support.Our friendship will never die We wish your happiness.
Masahiro Ochiai, Tochigi
9/23/2015 9:33:13 AM ET
Thank you so much.
Yoshimi Hayama, Osaka Japan
9/23/2015 8:37:56 AM ET
Thank you very much.
Miyuki Nshiyama, Yokkaichi
9/23/2015 7:06:15 AM ET
Thank you very much
ken, sinagawa
9/23/2015 5:20:14 AM ET
kanarin, Japan
9/23/2015 5:15:27 AM ET
Thank you Yokota Air BaseWe appreciate your time and support
Sachie, Saitama
9/23/2015 3:50:28 AM ET
Thank you very much.
9/23/2015 1:00:52 AM ET
Kinu riverThank you very mach
Yuko, Tokyo
9/23/2015 12:15:22 AM ET
Thank you so much for your kindness.True Japanese know your help.Japan would like to keep the good relationship with US. Therefore Japan also must help US.
Jin, Tokyo
9/22/2015 10:31:29 PM ET
Thank you so much to help us.A-RI-GA-TO
Kaoru Iwase, Kanagawa-Japan
9/22/2015 10:25:32 PM ET
A friend in need is a friend indeedI will send you this proverb.I really appreciate what you have done for us.
gtk, Tokyo Japan
9/22/2015 8:05:58 PM ET
I'd like to express my sincere thanks for joining restoration activities in Tochigi after the flood. I learned about your volunteer activities through a blog.
Chizuyo Misawa, Chiba
9/22/2015 5:29:36 PM ET
Thank you very much.
k.suzuki, tokyo
9/22/2015 5:08:02 PM ET
Thank you so much for your kindness
shin.m, aichi
9/22/2015 3:51:03 PM ET
Thank you very much for all your support.You are the BEST
9/22/2015 3:13:43 PM ET
Thank You to the US Airforce
K.H ., Deutschland
9/22/2015 11:09:58 AM ET
Thank you very much.
Eddie, Yamaguchi
9/22/2015 10:31:28 AM ET
Thank you very much.
Satoshin, kobe
9/22/2015 10:26:28 AM ET
Thank you very much.
kobayashi, saitama
9/22/2015 10:04:18 AM ET
Thank you very much.
YUMI, Tokyo
9/22/2015 8:41:50 AM ET
Thank you very very much.Always you help us coming and going back like a stealthA friend in need is a friend indeed
AMANO Kazuhiko, Ibaraki pref.
9/22/2015 7:20:07 AM ET
I just want to say my appreciation for your help and kindness.
, JP Aichi
9/22/2015 6:33:40 AM ET
Tochigi is my hometown.Really Really thank you so muchBy the way our News-Papers didn'treport about your help.I hope to continue the good relationship with your country.
Satoru, Saitama
9/22/2015 5:58:21 AM ET
Thanks so much
Shinji Yoshimoto, Kanagawa Sagamihara City
9/22/2015 5:54:47 AM ET
Thank you very much
Shinji Yoshimoto, Sagamihara City
9/22/2015 5:40:16 AM ET
Thank You very much
tachihara, musasi
9/22/2015 5:20:41 AM ET
Thank you so much and a big hurray for the volunteer team and USAF who supporters the great cause.
Harry Takeuchi, Tokyo
9/22/2015 5:09:42 AM ET
THANK YOU so much for your kindness.
M Kawai, Gunma
9/22/2015 5:08:06 AM ET
Thank you very much.
katumikoseki, yokosuka
9/22/2015 4:40:59 AM ET
I was moved to know that your team of 60 volunteers offered kind helping hands to the people in Kanuma in flood relief efforts. Thank you very much for your humanitarian work.
Kazuko Abe, Beppu Oita Pref.
9/22/2015 4:30:44 AM ET
To USA military friends. Thank you very much. This news was able to I know on the Internet. I think that was more good if there is a newspaper report.
Goro Hanamo, Fukushima
9/22/2015 3:55:33 AM ET
Thank you very much.
masa, chibapref yachiyo-shi
9/22/2015 3:02:38 AM ET
Thank you very much.Thank you for your kindness.You are the best friend for us
ug, Tokyo Japan
9/22/2015 2:06:51 AM ET
I really appreciate all of your warm support. I believe many Japanese know your kindness.
taka, kanagawa
9/22/2015 1:50:20 AM ET
I do'nt understand English.But Thank you for Your JobI'd keep holding a thankful sense for life to your behavior.Then please take care of yourself.
TK, Sapporo Hokkaidou
9/21/2015 11:39:43 PM ET
Thank you very much.
kajihara, japan
9/21/2015 11:32:39 PM ET
Thank you very much.
oko, JAPAN
9/21/2015 11:01:03 PM ET
Thank you so much the US Air Force guys.
Tetsu, Ichikawa Chiba
9/21/2015 11:00:04 PM ET
Thank you for help in restoration work in Kanuma.
SATO, Yamanashi
9/21/2015 10:58:26 PM ET
Thank you very much for helping the Japanese people I really appreciate your kindnessAndI am extremely angry about not being reported your help by the shit Japanese media on TVThey come nowhere near you our American friends
Saori Asuka, Tokyo
9/21/2015 10:52:35 PM ET
Thank you very much
takeshi yoneyama, nisinomiya hyougo japan
9/21/2015 10:49:25 PM ET
Thank you very much for your working as a volunteer activitie in kinugawa disasters.
Yasuo sumiyoshi, Kobe city Hyougo Pref.
9/21/2015 10:26:42 PM ET
Thank you so much.
9/21/2015 10:22:03 PM ET
Thank you very much. we don't forget your support.
yoshi Japanes, Pilippin
9/21/2015 9:54:41 PM ET
Thank you very much.We Japanese appriciate all of you.
Kazuya Kawamura, Fukuyama-cityHiroshima-pref
9/21/2015 9:46:47 PM ET
Thank you so much to help us.
Kousaku Asada, AichiJapan
9/21/2015 8:56:17 PM ET
As a Japanese I really appreciate your spport to the people who suffered.
Y, Aichi
9/21/2015 8:50:27 PM ET
Thank you so much for your kindness
Masa, Oita
9/21/2015 8:26:46 PM ET
As Japanese I highly appreciate your kind support. I feel very angry that this fact is not very introduced by media. But this spread through internet so a lot of people are aware now. Like me.Thank you very very much
Makiko, tokyo
9/20/2015 4:30:30 PM ET
We Japanese are grateful to the US Air Force
m.n, hokkaido
9/20/2015 9:27:52 AM ET
Japanese media didn't reported this newsToday I knew in the personal blogI apologize for the late thank you
Jp, Jp
9/19/2015 4:29:02 PM ET
We Japanese thank to the US Air Force.
n, hokkaido
9/18/2015 4:34:39 PM ET
Thank you for the US Air Force.
nakaya, hokkaido
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