Hurricane Sandy hit hard the US east coast, the earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan is still a long way to go, and there was a 7.7 earthquake in Haida Gwaii (north of Vancouver) last week. If this kind of natural disaster hit me today and if I am isolated without gas, electricity, and running water, how long I would survive? After a quick inventory of my kitchen cabinet and fridge, I found some water, vegetables, fruits and snacks to cover for a week if I consume them wisely. I also have blankets to keep me warm. This is a scenario that I am safely at home. If I have to evacuate to a shelter, it means the situation is worse, and lots of people like me need help at the same time.
I heard a story from a person who had to evacuate to a community center when one of the big earthquakes hit Niigata prefectural in Japan. She and her family including a baby had to sit on a cold floor of a gymnasium. No heat, two adults had to share one small rice ball per day for a couple of days. The Much worse story was told when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
There is a bakery in Japan who wanted to do something about this kind of situation. The bakery Pan-Akimoto invented bread in a can that tastes good and can last three years. They sterilized the bread by putting leaven in a can and baking the whole can in the oven. The bread in a can became a big hit when the 6.8 earthquake hit mid-Niigata prefecture in 2004.
It was a great invention, but they didn’t stop there. They now have a project called “Kyu-Can-Cho” (Kyu=Rescue, Cho=Bird).
What is Kyu-Can-Cho project?
- Businesses, schools, government or individuals purchase the canned bread and store them for 2 years for emergency.
- The bread will be collected by Pan-Akimoto after 2 years of the delivery (1 year before expiration). Customer can order new bread for another term.
- Pan-Akimoto sends collected bread which is still good for 1 year to countries most needed.
The project allows people to help prepare for themselves and help others. I’m hoping the project will take place soon in North America so that I can add the bread in a can to my emergency kit, and hope I can pass it straight to someone else without a need.
Yoshihiko Akimoto, president of Pan Akimoto Co., visits Kenya