Salvation Army earthquake response in Japan has to overcome weather and fuel issues

The Salvation Army’s earthquake response in Japan is continuing its work despite difficulties caused by snow and the lack of fuel. A team that was set to head from Tokyo to the tsunami-hit north of the country had to delay its journey because of snow but has now made its way to Sendai, where a distribution will take place.

The three teams that carried out distributions in Sendai, Koriyama, Shirakawa, Fukushima, and Mito City on Wednesday, March 16, returned to The Salvation Army’s Japan Territorial Headquarters in Tokyo to report on what they had seen and decide what should be done next.

International Emergency Services worker Major Raelton Gibbs reports: “The work that has been done is commendable—from feeding programs out of Salvation Army halls to the distribution of blankets, water bottles, bread, and nappies (diapers).”

The Salvation Army distribution teams are well aware of the concerns surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and are staying clear of the exclusion zones.Major Gibbs says he has been impressed by the response put together by The Salvation Army’s Japan Territory.

The fuel and weather problems mean that people have had to be flexible. He tells of one group that tried to get to Sendai but was unable to make it all the way, so they supplied the needs of some smaller communities around Koriyama on their way back to Tokyo.

The focus is understandably on the immediate response but Major Gibbs says that longer-term plans are being put in place, such as the provision of cooking equipment when people return to their communities. As it often does in emergency responses, The Salvation Army will pay particular attention to communities that have been missed by the government and other agencies.



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