Osaka University and international organizations in Kumamoto Prefecture have established a website providing evacuation and emergency information in 10 languages for foreigners who may be affected by last week's series of earthquakes.

"During emergencies, information is mainly distributed in Japanese, so the concerns of foreign residents become greater," said Toshiya Tsukamoto, a specially appointed professor in the university's RESPECT (Revitalizing and Enriching Society through Pluralism, Equity and Cultural Transformation) program, who researches disaster prevention measures and is involved in the project. "We wanted to take advantage of the personnel resources we have at the university to help out."

According to the Kumamoto prefectural government, about 10,800 foreigners lived in Kumamoto Prefecture as of the end of 2015. A number of foreigners are evacuated at the Kumamoto City International Center, which has set up a temporary shelter.

Osaka University is working with the Kumamoto International Foundation, which has opened temporary shelters for foreigners in the Kumamoto region. The information goes beyond the location of evacuation centers to also cover transportation information for those living in the Kumamoto area.

After collecting information from websites of local governments, about 30 individuals, including foreign and other students at Osaka University, are translating it into the 10 languages, which include English and Chinese.

The materials include the availability of interpreters at temporary shelters and information pertinent to a segment of the foreign population, such as the availability of halal food for Muslims who have dietary restrictions due to their religion.

The website can be accessed at <http://www.respect.osaka-u.ac.jp/activities/notice/kumamoto_earthquakes_multilingual/>.