Adventist Church Intensifies
Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Effort
Division pledges $50,000; displaced persons enjoy warm bowls of miso soup, courtesy of ADRA
By Adventist News Network and Adventist Review staff
The Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to rally support in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern Japan March 11, spawning a tsunami and widespread devastation. Thousands are reported dead, tens of thousands are believed to have been injured, and thousands more are homeless.
The Adventist Church’s Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) voted in mid-March to send $50,000 to the church in Japan for emergency relief, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency is expanding its response by supporting an evacuation center in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit regions.
WAITING FOR ASSISTANCE: People in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, line up for food distribution from government workers. In other parts of the country, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providng food and other aid. [Photo: Alden J. Ho]
The pledge is part of what church leaders in NSD called their “long-term support” as Japan recovers from its worst natural disaster in recorded history.
“When we think of the suffering and damage Japan is going through
. . . [all] we can do is to humbly ask God to stretch out His healing hands,” said Jairyong Lee, Northern Asia-Pacific Division president. “There is an urgent need for the prayers of the world church for our members in Japan.”
Lee visited the country March 20 to better assess damage to Adventist-owned churches and institutions. Early reports indicated that 13 churches, 10 schools, and five other church institutions were located in earthquake-affected areas.
Meanwhile, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency sent a two-ton truck loaded with food and emergency supplies to assist the approximately 1,300 displaced persons currently housed in an area evacuation center.
ADRA has previously provided hot meals for those staying at evacuation centers.
“I was so happy to have [traditional Japanese] miso soup today because it was the first hot meal we had since the earthquake,” one young girl at a center told ADRA last week.
Cold weather, snow, empty grocery stores, and the fear of nuclear radiation are complicating many survivors’ efforts to return to their homes and begin cleanup, an ADRA news release said.
On March 13 General Conference president Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson issued a statement in response to the disaster, noting the church’s initial relief efforts in the region and urging Adventists worldwide to pray for Japan “during this time of intense need.”
Wilson said, “Seventh-day Adventists around the world unite today with the people of Japan in mourning the losses caused by the 2011 Sendai earthquake and the resulting tsunami. Our thoughts, our prayers, and our sympathies go out to those who have suffered such loss.”