Vietnamese student in Japan collects rain water to cook after quakes

By Trong Giap, Bui Hong Nhung   April 19, 2016 | 01:32 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese student in Japan collects rain water to cook after quakes
Local residents wrap themselves in blankets as they sit on the road in front of the town office building after an earthquake in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, photo by REUTERS/Kyodo

Facing food and water shortages, a Vietnamese student is collecting rain water to cook rice after a deadly earthquake hit the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto.

Do Van Giap lives near Kumamoto Castle, which was breached by the quake last week. Since then he has been sleeping in a local primary school.

“The school is a shelter for about 2000 people, both Vietnamese and Japanese. We are all squashed together to make enough room for everyone.”

In Kumamoto, more than 250,000 households are without water, 100,000 families lack gas and 39,000 have no power. Giap said that his neighborhood still has electricity but the water was cut off. The 25-year-old student only has enough water to drink.

“Unbelievable. I haven’t showered for three days. Yesterday I even took advantage of rainfall to cook.”

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Giap collects rain water to cook. Photo by Do Van Giap.

Do Thao Linh, 27, another Vietnamese student, shared her experience of the earthquake: “It was so strong that it was difficult to stand up.”

At 1:25am on April 16, Linh suddenly woke up due to fierce vibrations. She immediately hid under a table and grabbed some basic necessities.

The girl said that many Vietnamese as well as Japanese people were caught off guard. “Some of my friends ran away without wearing shoes.”

A series of tremors soon after drove Linh and her neighbors to evacuate their homes and seek shelter at a local middle school. She added that people stayed calm as they made their way to the school.

"Everyone was silent; the only sound came from helicopters, fire trucks, car engines and police forces.”

Linh and Giap are two of more than 1,600 Vietnamese people living in Kumamoto.  After the quakes, their schools allowed students to stay at home.

“A typical day for an overseas student will be going to school in the morning and working in the evening, but all that has been cancelled for now,” Linh said.

The Japanese government estimates at least 42 people died in the twin earthquakes that hit the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Thursday and Saturday. About 190 of the injured were in serious conditions, and some 110,000 people have been displaced.