Somebody Cares is at work in Japan, bringing physical, emotional and spiritual care to survivors. Three weeks after the massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, the full extent of its impact still is not known. We do know, however, that millions of people are suffering in the aftermath. Many remain in the devastated region. Some are being relocated due to the radiation leakage – which is compounding an already difficult relief effort.
The Relief Strategy
Working with missionaries, pastors and relief organizations in Japan as well as with our global partners; Somebody Cares is working with a three-pronged approach.
Relief for Survivors in the Disaster Zone: Children and families have lost everything. Harsh winter weather is still pounding Northern regions. And fuel shortages and road damage is making it hard to reach rural communities. Somebody Cares is working to meet the practical needs survivors as they struggle to face each new day. Medical teams are mobilizing and will soon be on the ground with the help of partner Medical Mission Adventures, now that the government has lifted the restrictions on foreign doctors providing care in disaster zones. To facilitate the movement of teams and resources Somebody Cares secured a van in Japan for long-term relief efforts. In addition we have supplies ready to move and a logistics channel open for container shipments. (The radiation situation may delay containers as shipping lines are rerouting ships to avoid contamination).
Care for Evacuates in “Cities of Refuge”: Families experienced extreme loss and over 300,000 people have had to relocate suddenly due to radiation leakage. There is no promise of returning home so survivors must start over with nothing. We are working with both government and church leaders in the “cities of refuge” to identify needs of the evacuees and then procure and deliver items to relieve their immediate needs. For example, evacuees need simple things like new undergarments, and we have already provided that for 1000 men, women and children evacuated to the Nagano Prefecture. More help is in process like securing hygiene supplies and other necessities within Japan.
Care for the Heart (Trauma and Crisis Counseling): In Japan emotions are typically hidden and dealt with privately. The extreme loss felt by individuals, communities and the nation however are overwhelming. Doug Stringer and Somebody Cares partner, Edward Smith of Victim’s Relief Ministry are in Japan now to train Japanese pastors and leaders in both Nagano and Tokyo in Trauma Care and Crisis Counseling, or as it is referred to in Japan – Care for the Heart. Their experience in similar disasters like the Southeast Asian Tsunami and the recent earthquake in Haiti will give care givers in Japan invaluable insight. On-going support in this area will be provided as children and their families seek ways to cope with everything they have been through.
Please continue to pray for Somebody Cares as we are a tangible expression of God’s love to those suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy.
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