Disaster strikes Japan
Japanese Salvation Army emergency relief teams swing into action.
The Salvation Army in Japan has three emergency service relief teams operating in areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake—preliminary magnitude 8.9, later upped to 9.0—and the consequent tsunami that hit the northeast coast of the country last week. One of the teams is assisting evacuees from areas where there is potential danger because of damage to nuclear power generation stations.
The earthquake—the largest in Japan’s history—was also the fifth strongest earthquake worldwide in recorded history (records begin in 1900). The disaster affected a 2,000-kilometer (about 1,243 miles) north-south stretch of Japan. Official reports now state that more than 10,000 people are dead or missing.
At this time there are no reports of any loss of Salvation Army personnel or damage to corps buildings.
Immediately following the earthquake and tsunami, an assessment team was sent from Tokyo to Sendai (the city nearest the center of the earthquake). The journey—normally accomplished in six hours—took 20 hours.
Road and rail systems have been severely affected. There is a shortage of gas, with many gas stations closed and lines up to three kilometers (about two miles) long at stations that are open.
Arrangements are being made for emergency service personnel from The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) to go to Japan to assist with the Army’s relief effort.
A number of Salvation Army territories have informed IHQ of financial and prayer support for the Army’s relief effort in Japan. The Salvation Army in South Korea has set aside the next four weeks specifically for prayer and fundraising for Japan.
A Japan Disaster Fund appeal has been established at IHQ.
Donations may be made online at salvationarmy.org or by texting the word “quake” or “Japan” to 80888.
From a Salvation Army international news release