Following Japan’s catastrophes, it’s not just developing countries who lack drinkable water

Japan showed us recently that in just a few short moments, anyone can go from living a life of plenty to owning only the clothes on their bodies…suddenly dependent on others for water, food and shelter.

More than 18,000 are expected to have perished in the disastrous series involving earthquakes, a tsunami and a nuclear-plant explosion.
This photo was taken in the city of Sendai.

FH has an office in Japan which provides support to the various development fields worldwide. In this photo are Mr. Seike and Mr. Shin from Japan International Food for the Hungry. Current relief operations in Japan focus mainly on equipping the local Christian churches to care for their own people. 
“About 60 of our church members who are staying here…joined as we held a worship service. I feel like Moses with the people of Israel in the desert….
Lord, protect this flock of yours and remnants who are scattered all over,”
says Rev. Akira Sato from Fukushima First Baptist Church
(Fukishima is where the nuclear plant exploded).

With scarce power and temperatures stuck right around freezing, survival has become the number-one goal of many of Japan’s families. Millions of individuals have little or no access to water, and morereports are saying that tap water in some areas is unsafe due to contamination from damaged nuclear reactors.

In the face of an extremely bare fuel supply, getting life-saving help to survivors is a daunting and dangerous task.

“At midnight of March 15, my wife and I headed for the north with a truckload of relief goods,” says Rev. Sato.
“The police graciously gave us special permission to buy gasoline after hearing our story.
On the way, as we saw shops, we bought anything we could buy.
On the way, we saw the road sinking and many houses broken down.
The radio was warning us not to go close to nuclear plants
as they had exploded again.
But we decided go ahead anyway.
It took us 10 hours, but we finally arrived at one of our churches (Aizu … mountainside of Fukushima) that we are using as an emergency shelter.

The staff of Japan International Food for the Hungry also work with other
humanitarian agencies to get supplies to the survivors.
Here, they are unloading goods for distribution in Sendai.

Japan is a largely secular nation, but disasters of this magnitude can’t help but bring the spiritual part of life to the surface. At a time when so many Japanese are asking, ‘What have we done to deserve this?’the Church has an incredible opportunity to share the hope of Christ, providing face-to-face comfort and meeting physical needs in a practical way.