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Situation Report: Typhoon in Japan





























Be a part of the response:

Please pray for people who have been affected by the typhoon. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Thanks to generous, undesignated donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response will be used where there is the greatest need.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook and follow @ELCALDR on Twitter.
  • To download a PDF version of this situation report, click here.

Japan: Two-Year Anniversary of Earthquake & Tsunami

It was two years ago today that a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan and triggered a massive tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and displaced another 300,000. Since then the ELCA has been walking with companions like Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief (a joint ministry of four Lutheran churches in Japan formed after the disaster) and the Asian Rural Institute in their response.

In the past two years much work has been done, from immediate housing and feeding for affected individuals to debris removal and spiritual care for survivors and victims. With disasters of this scale the recovery will be one of many years, so as these individuals and communities continue to rebuild their new normal, let us today raise our prayers in solidarity and remembrance.

As we do so, one get a sense of the damage caused by the tsunami and the large amount of recovery work done is presented by The Telegraph newspaper in a series of photos of affected areas title Then and Now. In this small glimpse you can sense the gravity and immensity of the what people in the affected areas and those who have been working on their behalf have been dealing with. You can see the photos here:

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Photographs of Devastated Areas Then and Now

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond locally and globally in times of need. Donate now.

Japan: ARI Continues to Meet Needs of the Neighbor

The Asian Rural Institute, located in Tochigi, Japan, has been dedicated to training grassroots rural leaders from Asia, Africa and the Pacific since 1973. In this way they have been living out their calling as global neighbor. Yet, since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March 2011 they have also worked to make a concerted effort to be this same type of neighbor at home. The ELCA, through our Disaster Response program, has been working with them in this process, particularly helping to rebuild some of their damaged buildings so that they can continue to be a good neighbor. I thought it would be good to give a quick update on how ARI has been responding.

New buildings that will help facilitate the work of ARI are hoped to be done in August. There will be new community space and classrooms in the new Koinonia (Greek word used to denote intimate community) House. The ARI shop has found a new space to help promote the products produced by the school. There is also a new Administration Annex to proived reception space for visitors, printing, meeting space and a computer lab. This space is made available in part through gifts to ELCA Disaster Response.

Is My Food/Soil/Water Radioactive
One of the affects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami was damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Since that time there has been a fear around radioactive contamination. The question of whether food, soil or water is safe is simple to answer, providing you have a $40,000 Gamma Spectrometer to read the level of radioactivity. Recognizing that this type of equipment is not sitting in everyone’s living room ARI has made their Gamma Spectrometer and training on how to use it freely available to people who want to test their soil, food and water. These people range from local residents testing their gardens, to farmers testing their soil for growing to a Christian school which tests its food each day. In this way they are helping their neighbors have a little more peace of mind in the midsts of a frightening situation.

I’ll Take My Oil Green
Another affect of the radiation leak at the Fukushima plant was Cesium contamination of soil, including at ARI. To address this situation in a sustainable way, ARI is growing soy beans. They are working with local farmers to do the same. The reason for this is that soy bean plants actually take Cesium out of the soil, storing it in their stalks, and leaving the oil void of radiation. So they are growing a crop that can be sold while addressing the problem of contaminated soil. Also, in a sign of knowing their community they are using soy beans, even though other plants like sunflowers have a higher absorption rate of Cesium. This is because the local farmers have a equipment and experience for growing soy beans but not for sunflowers. So they are meeting the needs of the neighbor by first knowning what these needs are and what resources the neighbor has.

Go With What You Know
With these new projects they are still keeping up their work training grassroots leaders around the wider region. They had 27 graduates in the class of 2012 from as far away as Brazil. We give thanks for this great ministry of being neighbor, whether that be across the street or around the globe.

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond at home and globally in times of need. Donate now.

Japan: One-Year Anniversary Litany

The following litany was translated and shared by Rev. Franklin Ishida, Director for Asia – Pacific Continental Desk. They come from the National Council of Churches in Japan in commemoration of the One Year Anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

Prayers for the first year remembrance of the East Japan Great Disaster
L: Let us pray to God the Father, who accompanies us in our sorrows.
O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who met their tragic deaths.
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who grieve the loss of loved ones
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who have had to leave their homes, threatened by radiation.
C: Lord, hear our prayers

L: O God, hear our voices. These are the voices of those who are giving their hearts out to embrace survivors in their every need.
C: Lord, hear our prayer

L: Gracious Father, look upon us who cry out to you in pain and sadness. Help us to trust in your mercy from the depth of our hearts. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray.
C: Amen

National Council of Churches of Japan
Catholic Central Council

Japan: One-Year Anniversary Bulletin Insert

This Sunday is one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. We have created a bulletin insert to help remember our brothers and sisters affected. You can download it here. (pdf)

Also, check the ELCA Disaster Response page Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. We will be posting an online resource highlighting the anniversary and the work of the church in responding to this disaster in the next few days.

Another way of responding is to support the ELCA Disaster Response General Fund which helps us respond immediately in places like Japan when disaster strikes.

Japan: JLER Newsletter No. 2

Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief (JLER), which was formed by the Lutheran churches in Japan following the tsunami and earthquake, has been taking a lead role in responding to the continued work of clean-up and restoration within the hardest hit areas of Japan. This second newsletter from earlier this month gives an update to their work. I would especially recommend the first two articles. the first one gives an overview of the first phases of response and the second a field report from Fumitaka Sato.

The point that stuck with me from the field report were that besides decreased populations in hard hit areas, cities were also dealing with the issue of shifting demographics as younger people choose to leave and older adults, to stay. It was an issue I had not heard before and one I hadn’t thought about and gave me pause.

So give it a read and let us know what you think. And please continue to keep the people of Japan and those working on their behalf in your prayers.

Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.