Co-ops step in to help Japan recover after typhoons Hagibis and Faxai

Consumer, financial, insurance and forestry co-ops have all responded to the disasters

Japanese co-operatives are helping communities recover from the devastation of of typhoons Hagibis and Faxai.

Both storms hit the Kantō region – the country’s most developed area. Faxai hit the state on 7 September, killing three people and injuring 147 others, and leaving thousands of home without power.

It was followed on 12 October by Hagibis, which struck on 12 October, the most powerful storm to hit the region in 60 years. It brought heavy rain and winds of 225km/h (140mph), including a tornado in Ichihara City, and killed more than 80 people.

Hundreds of thousands of residents needed evacuation and the combined damage of the storms is set to run into billions of dollars.

Co-operatives were quick to mobilise and contribute to the recovery efforts. The Japanese Co-operative Alliance reports that agri co-ops have set up a response headquarters to examine the state of damage and work to support those affected.

Likewise, consumer co-operatives started distributing relief supplies to those affected in collaboration local governments and provided support to affected producers. They delivered drinking water, food, powdered milk, sanitary products, plastic sheets to cover damaged roofs and other essentials to various locations.

Producers who could not ship due to power and water outages had their products collected by the co-ops and sold at their stores. Residents left without power were also able to use co-op stores to access electricity.

Financial co-ops had a role to play as well. They offered special loans to help people rebuild houses and livelihoods and allowed withdrawal of deposits without the presentation of passbooks and seals.

In the insurance sector co-ops helped by making prompt payments to members in need and simplifying procedures for to those in affected communities.

In the aftermath of to the storm, the National Federation of Forest Owners’ Cooperative Association adopted an emergency resolution, in which it commits to rebuilding the livelihoods of affected members and workers and restoring forests and communities in affected areas.