On Tuesday, Sept. 4th, the strongest typhoon in 25 years swept across the middle of Japan, including the densely populated Kansai area (Osaka, Kobe, Nara, and Kyoto). The IT administrator for CRASH Japan lives in Osaka, and she says:
Normally, typhoons in Osaka are no big deal, but this time was different. The wind was brutal. Everywhere I walk, every block has something damaged – roofs with lost tiles, walls with chunks missing, store awnings lying on the sidewalk, trees in parks uprooted, etc. Perhaps you’ve seen photos of the tanker ship that slammed into a bridge – that bridge is the only access to busy Kansai Airport except for ferries, and it normally handles a huge number of trains and cars, but all the train tracks and half of the car lanes are unusable for an unknown period of time.
Wednesday, the day after the storm, a friend reached out to me for urgent help, as the Sakai Mission House (in southern Osaka) had lost many roof tiles, and she needed ladders, tarps, and volunteers to protect the building from rain. She often volunteers with CRASH or other groups to help with disaster relief, so it was a new experience to be the one in need. Rain was forecast for the next evening (yesterday), so I quickly found a few friends to help, bought what supplies I could find, and we spent yesterday covering the roof. It rained only a few hours after we finished. Carpenters are fully booked – she has been told it might be six months before someone can replace the roof. Other buildings in her neighborhood look even worse – some whole walls were torn down.
The YWAM mission base in northern Osaka suffered twice this summer – it was right at the epicenter of an earthquake in June, and now has additional damage from the typhoon. Hopefully a team can be mobilized to help them, also.
While we were working on the Sakai Mission House, we heard about the earthquake in Hokkaido, and we prayed together for the victims of both disasters.
Yesterday morning at 3:08 a.m., Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido was struck by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake at a shallow depth. Millions of people lost electricity (at first the entire northern Japan power grid was out), and landslides over a wide area have buried many homes and other facilities. 25,000 troops of the Japan Self-Defense Force are being dispatched to help with search and rescue efforts.
A network of churches in Hokkaido will become local organizer for Christian relief efforts, and a CRASH Japan leader is going there by ferry in the next few days to help them with preparations and assess how CRASH can help most effectively.
News is still unfolding, and the full extent of victims and damage won’t be known for some time, but here are a few early news articles in English:
In response to the torrential rains in July 2018, Christian volunteer centers have been set up in Kure, Hiroshima and Kurashiki, Okayama. Volunteers from CRASH and other groups and individuals form into work teams to go the damaged areas and do a variety of relief activities. The record-setting heat wave is making things worse – the high temperatures every day for the past couple of weeks have been in the mid 90’s (mid 30’s celsius) with no end in sight, and the death toll from the heat is approaching that of the floods and landslides!
Here are a few photos, but many more photos and reports of activities can be found on CRASH’s Facebook page. The damage is very widespread, and even just the physical recovery will take months or a year or more. Emotional recovery will take even longer, and CRASH desires to continue survivor care as long as it is needed.
Donations have been much smaller than for other disasters in recent years, perhaps because there was very little in international news. Please support this work!
A huge swath of Western Japan was pounded by torrential rains for several days last week, causing widespread flooding, landslides, and other damage. The numbers keep rising, but as of this writing (July 10th), the death toll is over 120 and dozens are still missing. As of Monday evening, around 11,000 people were staying in evacuation centers in 15 prefectures. At one point, evacuation orders or advisories were issued for up to 6.3 million people, but the number later dropped to 1.8 million in 14 prefectures.
CRASH Japan immediately began networking with churches and other groups in affected areas to assess where and how we can help most effectively – that assessment process is still ongoing, and we are also staying out of the way of professional search-and-rescue efforts, but after that phase, we will begin relief work. Please consider supporting this large relief effort in both prayer and donations. To donate click here and write CRASH Japan in the comments section.
Thank you for your support of CRASH Japan. We are finally now giving you an update about our activities in the Kumamoto region of Japan. Sorry that we have not written before now – we started writing in each language several times, but we have all been busy dealing with the disaster response itself. The Japanese text below was written about two weeks ago, but we’ll give you more fresh information in English.
Beginning with a Magnitude 6.5 on April 14th that was merely a “fore-shock” of a magnitude 7.3 before dawn on April 16th, damage has continued to spread across a wide area as hundreds of aftershocks hit the area. Every day in Kumamoto, multiple small aftershocks can be felt. (more…)