Haruo Obata, 78, who made headlines last week after he found a two-year-old boy missing for three days on Suo-Oshima island in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was back helping others in need on Sunday, this time in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, which was devastated by floods last month.
The media have dubbed Obata — who is from Oita Prefecture — a “super volunteer” — because he often goes to disaster-hit areas to help victims.
On Sunday, he showed up at a volunteer center in Kure, with a car full of food, water and other relief goods, Fuji TV reported. Instead of the headband he wore when he found the missing child, he wore a helmet, upon which he had written a number of uplifting messages.
Many other volunteers approached Obata after he had finished his registration, and they all posed for a photograph together.
Kure is one of the worst-affected areas of the floods, and Obata was assigned to help clear away earth, sand and debris caused by the mudslide from residences. Despite his age and huge beads of sweat on his brow, Obata toiled on with his fellow volunteers.
This is the second time Obata has volunteered in Kure; the previous time was for three weeks after the floods. His experience as a volunteer was demonstrated as he fixed many of the badly-made seams upon the sandbags he was assigned to lay down, and as he instructed his fellow volunteers the proper way to make a sandbag.
Obata said, "I was really happy when they told me 'Welcome back.' However, the work has not progressed much since the last time I was here. All I want is for the area to recover swiftly."
Obata said he will continue his volunteer work until the end of August. He intends to spend each night sleeping in his car.© Japan Today