Japan (MNN) — At 11:32 PM local
time last night, a magnitude 7.4 quake struck Japan's Miyagi Prefecture.
It's the same area already devastated
by the March 11 quake and tsunami, and residents were immediately
evacuated. A tsunami warning was issued
and then cancelled when no wave formed.
While that's one bit of good
news, the strong aftershock is wreaking havoc on the survivors' psyches. Matt Panos with Food For the Hungry says
their team from Japan International Food
for the Hungry (JFHI) is already on the ground dealing with the aftermath of
the earlier temblor.
So far, "We
have still not yet had any word on any additional damage, or any additional
loss of life, or any other issue that would be supplementary to the initial
quake and tsunami."
Their greatest concern is the
supply chains. "There are between four and six million people without access to
food and water. Their traditional supply chains of grocery stores and things
were all destroyed."
A disruption could be costly in
terms of human life. "We're praying for stamina and strength, and that the
supply chain would not be broken. This earthquake could cause breaks in our
supply chain for getting food and water."
In the more rural areas, "At this
point the supply chains that are in place that are bringing supplies in, food
and water, that are connected to literally hundreds of small Japanese churches
around Japan that we've already been funneling money to. They're developing
their supply chains, they're buying supplies and water, and they're moving them
into the northeastern part of Japan."
It's also winter in Japan. In addition to the shock of another earthquake,
some of the earlier rescue work will have to be re-done. Panos explains that "the temporary housing is simply not equipped
to handle additional earthquakes of any magnitude. So, if this current one was large enough to
where it really shook people, many of the temporary housing situations that
have been built have probably either come down or been damaged."
"We've got hundreds of churches
represented now in north Japan. This opportunity is just incredible to have the
hands and feet of Christ available to those who've been displaced."
As survivors make sense of their
loss and grief, JFHI is networking with churches to provide encouragement to
the survivors and convey Christ's hope. Panos describes one incident where a relief team did a supply
distribution in one area. "A woman, an
unbeliever, had said to her, ‘You must be the face of Jesus.' That was her
comment back to her, realizing she was a member of a Christian church. That's the
exact image we want to portray."
JIFH is training pastors and
church staff to give emotional support to disaster survivors. Church members
and volunteers are ministering to communities in distribution and clean-ups,
with special focus on assisting the elderly.
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