A Letter from Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Captain Christopher Marques is a young Salvation Army Officer (minister) who is from Decatur, Illinois, but is currently stationed at The Salvation Army’s Headquarters for Japan. His normal work is with the young people in Japan. Below are some excerpts from a message we received from him early this morning:

…Thank you for your prayers. They are perhaps the greatest gift we can use right about now. As you know, the country is still being shaken by aftershocks; even today we just felt a larger one after lunch. But so far they have not been near the level we saw on Friday I am starting to get used to the ground shaking a little bit on and off, but still am surprised by some of the frequent medium-sized incidents.

There is still a problem with the reactors that are critical and leaking in the Fukushima area (in-between Tokyo and the tsunami-hit area of Sendai). The immediate area surrounding the plant has, of course, been evacuated from a 30 kilometer radius.

For now, those near the affected area who have not been evacuated or staying in temporary shelters have been advised to stay indoors. In the rest of the country we aren’t moving much since gas/petrol is hard to find…the fuel lines are still stretching for blocks for anyone trying to get their car filled up.

The power supply is being cut in various areas to save the whole electrical system from crashing. With subways and trains running reduced schedules, and cars being used less- many are either using bicycles, walking or staying home.
The stores are struggling to keep shelves full and some things are simply impossible to find—even for us trying to get food for the relief victims. Today was not quite as crowded or busy in the grocery/convenience stores.
Most of us here have thankfully been able to go to work each day and help manage the relief effort from our Tokyo office.

My boss has left to help support the first relief teams that are further north. He has training and experience with disaster situations, so he was a natural choice along with the rest of the group. However, he is very close to the reactor area helping with victims and I pray for his safe return.

Today, during our daily morning devotions, we sang Count Your Blessings, and that song really came alive as we thanked God for our lives, His protection, our basic needs being met at this time and just having shelter, clothing and access to some kind of food each day.

We appreciate your continued prayer support for the people here during this difficult time. May God bless you all back home and keep you hearts firmly connected to Him.

God Bless You,
Chris

Worldwide Support Helps Salvation Army Emergency Response in Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three Salvation Army teams in Japan have arrived and are serving at several disaster sites in Japan. The Japanese Government has recognized The Salvation Army’s work and has given our teams permission to enter the disaster area and use access roads that are closed off to the public.

The first of the three teams went to Sendai, where about 1,000 meals were served to evacuees. Our mobile emergency canteen prepared hot meals and drinks to give out at the Sendai Salvation Army church.

Another team went to a relief office in the Mito area and unloaded bottles of water, biscuits, blankets, diapers and tissue boxes for distribution to evacuees.

The third team headed to an area where people had been evacuated from the vicinity around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but snow and shortage of petrol meant they had to divert to other areas to support evacuees.

Offers of support are pouring in from around the world. Two experienced emergency services workers have flown to Tokyo from The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters in London to assist their Japanese colleagues. The BBC reports that volunteers from a British group which failed to obtain clearance to work in the affected areas ‘donated their food and medical supplies to The Salvation Army working in the country’.

The Salvation Army’s Korea Territory has arranged for the K-Water Corporation to provide 100,000 bottles of water to be sent to Japan – 30,000 bottles by the end of the week, followed by the rest within a short time – and the Korea Disaster Relief Association will be sending 5,000 first-aid kits. Salvationists in Korea are holding a month of prayer for the people of Japan.

In a touching show of solidarity 1,500 young Salvationists in Haiti – who themselves have recent experience of a devastating earthquake – made prayer for Japan a focus of their rally in Fond-des-Nègres on March 11-12.

Disaster Teams at Work in Japan, More on the Way

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Salvation Army in Japan has three emergency service relief teams working in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. One of the teams is assisting people who have been evacuated from areas threatened by the damage of nuclear power plants.

In our original blog post on the disaster, we mentioned a Salvation Army assessment team was sent to Tokyo to Sendai (the city nearest the center of the earthquake). While this trip usually takes 6 hours, it took the team 20 hours to reach their destination.

Emergency service personnel from The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) in London will also soon head over to Japan to assist with the relief effort.

Overall, there is much damage to the country. Road and rail systems have been severely affected. Gasoline supplies are low, with many gas stations closed and lines up to three kilometers long at stations that are open.

The disaster has affected a 2,000 kilometer north-south stretch of Japan. Official reports now state that more than 10,000 people are dead or missing.

At this time there are no reports of any loss of Salvation Army personnel or damage to our buildings.

Many Salvation Army territories are offering financial and prayer support for our relief effort in Japan. The Salvation Army in South Korea has set aside the next four weeks specifically for prayer and fundraising for Japan.

If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s Japan relief efforts, you can do so in the following ways:

* Donate online at donate.salvationarmyusa.org
* Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
* Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. (Please ensure that you respond “YES” to the Thank You message you receive.)
* By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to

The Salvation Army World Service Office
International Relief Fund
PO Box 630728
Baltimore, MD 21263-0728

How To Support Japan Relief Efforts

Friday, March 11, 2011

For those of you wanting to help The Salvation Army’s earthquake relief work in Japan, you can support our efforts in several ways:

* Donate online at donate.salvationarmyusa.org
* Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
* Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. (Please ensure that you respond “YES” to the Thank You message you receive.)

Thank you for generous support and continuous prayers for those in Japan. To learn more about our relief efforts, click here.

Gifts In-Kind: At this time, The Salvation Army is not accepting in-kind donations from the general public. It is extremely difficult and expensive to ship in-kind donations overseas from the US to Japan. It is more efficient for disaster relief agencies to purchase needed resources locally and for immediate distribution with the disaster area. The best way for U.S. donors to help Japanese disaster survivors is to make a cash donation. Please note that your local The Salvation Army continues to accept donations of used clothing, furniture and other items to support local programming. Please consider donating your used items to your local Salvation Army Thrift Store.