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Helping in Japan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Helping in Japan
The NGO that I work for, The Hanna Project, is working directly with our field workers in Japan and with a relief organization established in Japan called CRASH. Despite the devastation, this organization is doing incredible work and they need our prayers and financial support. Please consider making a donation to help us impact lives in Japan. Donate Here.

CRASH Mobilizes Volunteers in Japan
Tokyo, Japan – March 14, 2011 – CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope) volunteers in Tokyo are mobilizing to provide aid to victims of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck the northeastern coast of Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM.
The earthquake was the largest in Japan’s recorded history, resulting in a series of tsunami that reached heights of up to 23 feet and caused widespread damage. The Tohoku region was hardest hit in the coastal cities of Sendai and Fukushima, where hundreds are confirmed dead, and thousands are still missing.

CRASH Japan, working closely with JEMA (the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Association), has a large network of experienced volunteers who know the culture and language. CRASH Japan’s 24-hour fundraising goal is $100,000. In the last few years, CRASH leaders have coordinated relief efforts in China, Haiti, Indonesia, New Zealand, and other major disaster areas.

On Monday, March 14th, CRASH sent four survey teams to the Tohoku region by train, car, and motorcycle as early as 12:00 am to assess the damage, find staging grounds, and make contact with local communities to prioritize their needs. Additional survey teams will be sent out later in the week.

Teams are facing a situation that is complex, dynamic, and challenging. Communication has been difficult. Cell phones in Tokyo are overextended, and service is unavailable in affected disaster areas. Gas and electricity are being rationed in Tokyo and are incredibly scarce in disaster areas. According to CRASH hospitality worker Bola Taylor, food provisions are also short: “There were 150 people waiting in line at the grocery store for simple ramen, rice, and toilet paper. The shelves were all empty; it was very unnerving.”

CRASH Japan is using funds to purchase vital equipment, such as satellite phones, printers, computers, and wireless routers. This equipment will be used to facilitate communication between the Tokyo command center and cities where infrastructure has been weakened or destroyed. According to Intel Coordinator David Sedlacek, satellite phones are the most crucial tool in making contact with disaster areas and isolating relief needs.

A vast majority of Japan identifies religiously as either Buddhist or Shinto, or both. Only 1.5% of Japan’s population identifies as Christian, but churches all over the country have volunteered their resources in a coordinated effort with CRASH to offer aid to those who are suffering.
According to JEMA President Dale Little, “CRASH is the second-to-none relief network in Japan. No other agency is able to assess the needs on the ground like CRASH, and then take steps toward meeting those needs. The effectiveness of CRASH includes linking closely with local churches in Japan.”

JEMA Vice-President Ken Taylor also commented, “CRASH held its first strategy meeting today (March 13). Many were in attendance from mission agencies and other interested parties. There is a spirit of cooperation and desire to assist in reaching those in need effectively, relevantly, and spiritually.”

About the disaster, CRASH Japan director Jonathan Wilson made the following statement: "Many of us are wondering how we can best respond to the news of the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated Japan. As the television screens pour out images, we pour out our hearts to the Creator to take care of this great nation.

CRASH Japan, a non-profit established for just a time as this, exists to help victims of disasters. We have experienced people who know the culture and language on the ground ready to assess the situation and take appropriate action. Please consider how YOU might be able to help right now by giving a donation that will “kick start” our Tokyo based disaster relief initiative."