THE Salvation Army’s earthquake response in Japan is continuing its work despite difficulties caused by snow and the lack of fuel. A team that was set to head from Tokyo to the tsunami-hit north of the country had to delay its journey because of snow but has now made its way to Sendai, where a distribution will take place tomorrow morning (Saturday).
The three teams that carried out distributions in Sendai, Koriyama, Shirakawa, Fukushima and Mito City on Wednesday 16 March returned to The Salvation Army’s Japan Territorial Headquarters in Tokyo [pictured below] to report on what they had seen and decide what should be done next. International Emergency Services worker Major Raelton Gibbs reports: ‘The work that has been done is commendable – from feeding programmes out of Salvation Army halls to the distribution of blankets, water bottles, bread and nappies (diapers).’
He says that Tokyo continues to feel aftershocks and admits that ‘no matter how many you experience they are all a little daunting’.
The Salvation Army distribution teams are well aware of the concerns surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and are staying clear of the exclusion zones.
Major Gibbs says he has been impressed by the response put together by The Salvation Army’s Japan Territory. The fuel and weather problems mean that people have had to be flexible. He tells of one group that tried to get to Sendai but was unable to make it all the way and so met the needs of some smaller communities around Koriyama on the way back to Tokyo.
The focus is understandably on the immediate response but Major Gibbs says that longer-term plans are being put in place, such as the provision of cooking equipment when people return to their communities. As it often does in emergency responses, The Salvation Army will pay particular attention to communities that have been missed by the government and other agencies.
Photos of The Salvation Army’s response in Japan can be found on the International Headquarters Flickr site: click here to access.
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