This article was originally published on the Mission Network News website on April 8th.
Japan (MNN) – At 11:32 PM local time last night, a magnitude 7.4 quake struck Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture.
It’s the same area already devastated by the March 11 quake and tsunami, and residents were immediately evacuated. A tsunami warning was issued and then cancelled when no wave formed.
While that’s one bit of good news, the strong aftershock is wreaking havoc on the survivors’ psyches. Matt Panos with Food For the Hungry says their team from Japan International Food for the Hungry (JFHI) is already on the ground dealing with the aftermath of the earlier temblor.
So far, “We have still not yet had any word on any additional damage, or any additional loss of life, or any other issue that would be supplementary to the initial quake and tsunami.”
Their greatest concern is the supply chains. “There are between four and six million people without access to food and water. Their traditional supply chains of grocery stores and things were all destroyed.”
A disruption could be costly in terms of human life. “We’re praying for stamina and strength, and that the supply chain would not be broken. This earthquake could cause breaks in our supply chain for getting food and water.”
In the more rural areas, “At this point the supply chains that are in place that are bringing supplies in, food and water, that are connected to literally hundreds of small Japanese churches around Japan that we’ve already been funneling money to. They’re developing their supply chains, they’re buying supplies and water, and they’re moving them into the northeastern part of Japan.”
It’s also winter in Japan. In addition to the shock of another earthquake, some of the earlier rescue work will have to be re-done. Panos explains that “the temporary housing is simply not equipped to handle additional earthquakes of any magnitude. So, if this current one was large enough to where it really shook people, many of the temporary housing situations that have been built have probably either come down or been damaged.”
“We’ve got hundreds of churches represented now in north Japan. This opportunity is just incredible to have the hands and feet of Christ available to those who’ve been displaced.”
As survivors make sense of their loss and grief, JFHI is networking with churches to provide encouragement to the survivors and convey Christ’s hope. Panos describes one incident where a relief team did a supply distribution in one area. “A woman, an unbeliever, had said to her, ‘You must be the face of Jesus.’ That was her comment back to her, realizing she was a member of a Christian church. That’s the exact image we want to portray.”
JIFH is training pastors and church staff to give emotional support to disaster survivors. Church members and volunteers are ministering to communities in distribution and clean-ups, with special focus on assisting the elderly.
There are many needs. Click here to see where you might be able to help.
To read this article on the Mission Network News website, visit: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15568