Japan (MNN) — The grim search for survivors continues in Japan, but the news isn't good. It's especially bad for the city of Ishinomaki, which was completely destroyed by the tsunami. The city's mayor says 10,000 people are still missing, and a half-million people are reportedly homeless.
The need for food, water, and other essentials continue.
In response, Medical Teams International is committed to help. President of the ministry Bas Vanderzalm says, "I never thought that we would necessarily be responding to the needs of Japan. They are a first world country. They are, among all countries, the most prepared when an earthquake happens."
But much like Hurricane Katrina in the United States, Japan needs help. Vanderzalm says the national church is helping. "They are meeting some of the basic needs that homeless people have there for shelter, food, and water."
While some of those needs are being met, Vanderzalm says, "There are thousands and thousands of people who need help right now with just basic essentials for life. It's those needs that we're looking to meet with local church groups in Japan."
They'll need temporary shelter such as tents. They'll also need blankets, clothing, and other items to protect them in the cold months of the year there.
Vanderzalm says this is a pre-emptive strike. "By acting now to help in this immediate situation, we hope we'll be able to prevent the need for large [medical] teams to go in and care for people later on."
Since they're working through the local church, Medical Teams International will be enabling the local church to share their faith with people who have been closed to hearing about Christ. Many Japanese are now asking spiritual questions.
Vanderzalm says it doesn't take a lot of investment. "For $30, we're able to provide a disaster kit to people in an emergency situation like this–enough to care for them for at least several weeks. So, even a small gift would make a huge difference."
If you'd like to support Medical Teams International's Japan relief effort, click here.