Japan Tsunami (2)

March 15, 2011

The death toll from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and its following tsunamis in northern Japan on March 11, 2011, is expected to be above 17,000. The Miyagi prefectural police (Sendai city area) have announced an expected de`ath toll of above 10,000 in that prefecture alone. The actual body count in Japan currently stands about 2500. Rescue efforts are underway, with many countries sending search and rescue teams. But there are few stories of survivors. The tsunamis were far more deadly than the earthquake and its aftershocks. The tsunamis swept in so quickly that for the most part they were inescapable. People had mere minutes to find safety.

The part of Japan devastated the most by the quake and tsunamis stretches about 300 miles along the Pacific Ocean coast (east side of Japan), starting about 100 miles north of Tokyo. Most earthquakes leave pockets of destruction. By contrast, this quake and its tsunamis have left a 300 mile trail of destruction that looks like a war zone.

Nuclear power plants just north of Tokyo are now malfunctioning. The possibility of radiation leakage has added to the fears of the people of Japan. Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures have been placed on rotating blackouts to conserve electrical usage.

Many tragic facts about the quake and its tsunamis have become common knowledge on the major news networks around the world. What is less known is the behind the scenes work of one significant relief network in Japan known as CRASH: Crisis, Relief, Assistance, Supplies, Hope. This network is led by evangelical missionaries already present in Japan, and many of its volunteers are also missionaries. CRASH is an endorsed ministry of JEMA: Japan Evangelical Missionary Association. (Dale is the voluntary President of JEMA.) JEMA provides CRASH with a pool of over 1000 missionaries who, if available and physically fit, are eager to assist. So CRASH personnel know the language and the culture of Japan. CRASH is not a professional rescue organization. It is a voluntary network of missionaries and believers who focus on relief and rebuilding, the two steps that follow professional rescue efforts.

Many of the large (and excellent) Christian relief organizations state that they are in the process of assessing the situation on the ground in Japan. It is CRASH from which they are getting much of their information. CRASH is providing guidance to many Christian relief organizations about to begin work in Japan.

On Monday, Mar. 14, CRASH sent out four survey teams by train, car, and motorcycle. These teams assess damage, find staging grounds for relief projects, and make contact with local communities (especially churches) to prioritize their needs. Additional survey teams will be sent out later this week.

CRASH has the goal of raising $100,000 in a short time.

Donations can also be made at Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission.

In addition to giving, let's hit Japan with a tsunami of prayer!

japanquake.ca (dale little)