Japan (MNN) — Nearly ten years ago, a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake unleashed a massive tsunami near Fukushima, Japan. 20,000 people died and over 100,000 evacuated after three nuclear reactors suffered damage and melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the environment. Read more about the ongoing effects of the catastrophe here.
Saturday, the region suffered an aftershock of the 2011 quake, according to the Japanese Meteorological Society. Aftershocks can continue for years after a major earthquake. In fact, this isn’t the first major earthquake to hit the region since the disaster.
Thankfully, no casualties were reported this time, and nuclear power plants in the area showed no sign of damage or abnormalities. Joe Handley of Asian Access says, “I’m hearing people are safe, but the anxiety levels are high. The shaking was so bad that books were thrown across rooms, glass was broken. It was a pretty severe shake. I believe I’m hearing it was about 7.1 on the Richter scale.”
The Fukushima disaster remains one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. The Japanese government will continue cleaning up sites contaminated by radioactive materials for decades. Several areas still exude higher than normal amounts of radiation. Many people have never returned to their homes in Fukushima.
This new earthquake has further unsettled people living nearby. Handley says local Christians want to embody the hope of Jesus in an anxious time. “It’s in moments like these that we the Church can rise above. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, Japanese leaders in that region, and missionaries that we work with, as they try to come in and be a presence for Jesus. If they can be that light of Christ and be His hands and feet in the midst of what’s happening, I think it’s a great encouragement to the people.”
Pray the Holy Spirit will empower Japanese believers in this work.
The header photo shows a radiation hotspot near Fukushima in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)