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30 March 2011
The disaster relief project for the churches affected by Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake
March 15, 2011
To all the members of the Japan Evangelical Association (JEA),
On March 11, 2011, at 2:26pm, an enormous earthquake hit the Sanriku Coast affecting the Tohoku Region and other areas of eastern Japan. The magnitude of the earthquake was 9.0, the biggest in Japan’s recorded history. The massive tsunami caused by this quake destroyed towns along the coast in four prefectures, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaragi. According to a statement released on March 15, 2011 by the Fire Disaster Management Agency, the number of people confirmed dead or missing is over 7600. This is the worst disaster since World War II. There have been numerous aftershocks. People are full of concern and fear.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was also affected by the earthquake. The reactor is in a precarious state and is at risk of exploding. The area around the plant has already been contaminated by leaking radiation. As aftershocks continue, the Tokyo metropolitan area is experiencing food and gasoline shortages. Public transportation has been limited as well due to the electrical shortage. Ochanomizu Christian Centre, where JEA’s headquarters is located, was damaged during the quake, so the JEA office has been closed.
Although we are in the midst of a dangerous situation, JEA has set up a disaster relief committee to work with its members, affiliates, local churches, and other major disaster relief organizations to help with “the disaster relief project for the churches affected by the Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake”. JEA is working to overcome many hardships while the disaster relief committee works diligently to co-operate with various Japanese and foreign relief organizations.
We would like to report where we are at this point.
1. JEA will cooperate with CRASH (Director: Jonathan Wilson*1), which has its headquarters in Higashikurume, Tokyo, to gather information about the current situation in the affected area and to assess what kind of support and aid foreign organizations can offer.
2. JEA will temporarily set up a headquarters outside the Tokyo metropolitan area and will begin collecting information from JEA members. JEA will also start collecting registrations for volunteer workers. As the disaster starts to settle, JEA will move its headquarters back to the Tokyo metropolitan area and begin preparations for the secondary phase of the relief activities.
*1. CRASH is a voluntary organization that operates various disaster relief projects in cooperation with missionaries who are members of JEMA (Japan Evangelical Missionaries Association). JEA works closely with CRASH. For the details please look at the website (http://crashjapan.com/).
This is a critical time for the nation of Japan. Churches in Japan need to trust in the Lord, pray together, cooperate and overcome this difficult time. May the comfort of the Lord be on the people affected by the earthquake. We pray that the Lord will hold everything in His firm hands.
Japan Evangelical Association (JEA)
Chairman of the Board Norio Harada
Chairman of JEA Relief Commission Takao Nakadai
General Secretary Kiyoshi Gushiken