Just after 11pm on Saturday evening, as we were preparing to go to sleep, the dog started barking, and then the shaking began. I could hear the rattling of the cabinet doors and the dishes in the drain clattered. Opening the front door I could hear the shaking of the ground and all the houses around us. Where I live in Tokyo, it registered 4 on the Japanese scale. At its source off the coast of Fukushima it was a strong 6 on the same Japanese scale.
Six prefectures have reported people with injuries, though no serious injuries have been confirmed and no casualties have been reported. Power was out for almost a million people, but was mostly restored within a few hours. There is damage to roads and buildings, a landslide that took out part of a highway, and a lot of clean up to do. Broken dishes and toppled bookshelves are just the beginning.
This quake comes almost exactly 10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, which triggered the tsunami, and the following nuclear disasters. Experts are telling us that this, too, is an aftershock. That due to the size of the 2011 quake, it is not unusual to have an aftershock of this size ten years later.
Organizations that responded to the 2011 disasters have been planning their 10 year anniversary programs. Here at CRASH Japan we have also been planning how to appropriately mark this occasion. There is a desire to celebrate recovery, and put the hard parts of it behind us. We would like to be able to say ‘That is all over now. We are done with it.’ But an event like this reminds us that we are vulnerable.
CRASHJapan is happy to announce that after a break of three years, Helen Kwak has once again joined us. She will be heading up our Heart Care Department and restarting our Heart Care training programs. After working with CRASH during the 3.11 response in the Survivor Care department, Helen went on to help develop the DRCnet Chaplaincy training program, while earning her Masters in Human Services Counseling. She resigned from CRASH in the spring of 2017 in order to be with her son as he battled cancer in the states. After his passing she has returned to Japan, and worked to build a small counseling practice. Helen’s passion is in developing relevant heart care training programs that will be valuable tools for pastors, lay persons, and disaster responders here in Japan. You will hear more about this in the future.
Right now Helen is gathering a team of current and former staff, and planning an online global event for everyone who participated in CRASH’s 3.11 disaster response. REFLECT and CONNECT (details coming soon) will be a space for us to reflect on where the last 10 years have led us, and reconnect with each other. Please mark your calendars for March 13 ~14 and look for details soon!
In this video (Japanese only), CGN TV (Christian Global Network Television Japan) reported on a meeting of the nationwide collection of regional Christian disaster relief networks, as well as describing the beginning work by the Kyushu network in response to the floods and relief goods supplied by other networks and ministries. It includes comments from a few pastors and a list of churches with damage. Please pray for these churches and for the work being done.
Please pray for southern Kyushu. Torrential rains on July 4th and 5th caused severe floods – here is one of many news reports: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/06/asia/japan-flooding-kumamoto-kagoshima-intl-hnk/index.html
Below is a report on churches in southern Kumamoto Prefecture – the text is in the process of being translated into English.