Japan Church, CWR Evaluating Relief Responses

CHICAGO, IL (March 11, 2011) – The leadership of the Japan Covenant Church is considering how to respond to the needs of people following the largest recorded earthquake in the country’s history and massive tsunami that have killed hundreds, Covenant World Relief Director Dave Husby said this morning.

“We are waiting to hear from them about whatever disaster assistance they might need,” Husby said. In the meantime, CWR will accept donations if people want to contribute. To donate to CWR’s special Japan relief fund, click here.

The death toll in just one area has reached 300 people and the number of dead across the country is expected to increase, especially in the northern areas. “There is a lot we don’t know yet because people haven’t been able to get through to most areas yet,” Husby said.

Husby lived in Japan for nearly 25 years while a missionary with the Department of World Mission and is familiar with how the country has prepared its people for the disaster. “They are a resilient people and will work hard to recover from this,” he said. “The Japanese live their lives with the awareness that someday a big earthquake is coming. It is clear that it has come.”

The death toll probably would climb even higher, were it not for the fact that most homes have earthquake disaster kits and people know where they are supposed to go if there is a giant quake or tsunami, Husby said. “They train for this.”

The tsunami swept away, homes, cars, buildings and ships. The initial 8.9 magnitude earthquake that unleashed the wave has been followed by at least 50 aftershocks, many of them registering above 6.0 magnitude, according to reports.

Countries from around the world, including the United States, China, Russia, and Britain, have offered to send aid.

Covenant World Relief is the humanitarian aid ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. It works with partners around the world to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable who suffer from extreme poverty, hunger, disease, and injustice.

The ministry is able to rapidly work through partner ministries when tragedies strike because of its general disaster fund that can quickly dispatch money to help relief efforts begin immediately.

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