UMCOR responds to earthquake & tsunami in Japan
UMCOR is connecting with its partners to assess the damage resulting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. To support UMCOR's response to this emergency please give to Pacific Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317. Checks can be made to the South Georgia Conference with "Advance #3021317 - Pacific Emergency" in the memo line. Checks can be put in the church's offering plate or mailed to: South Georgia Conference, PO Box 52101 / Macon, GA 31208. 100% of gifts made to this Advance project will go to help the people affected in this disaster.
United Methodists respond to Japan quake
A UMNS story by Linda Bloom*
The earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan was a frightening experience even for people in Tokyo, some 200 miles away from the epicenter.
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake — the most powerful in at least a century — struck just offshore Japan on Friday, unleashing a massive tsunami and prompting the U.S. National Weather Service to issue warnings for at least 50 other countries and territories, according to CNN.
In an e-mail to United Methodist News Service received at 9:27 a.m. Eastern time — or 11:27 p.m. in Tokyo — Debbie Umipig-Julian, a missionary there, said communication was difficult there because cell phones and landline phones were down, as well as public transportation. “It is still shaking up to this time so I guess I’ll stay awake all night and pray that everybody will be able to contact their loved ones,” she wrote.
She is one of nine missionaries based in Japan through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, along with a number of individual volunteers-in-mission.
The Rev. Claudia Genung Yamamoto was having a late lunch with two church members in west Tokyo when the earthquake struck around 2:40 p.m. They evacuated.
“Finally the quake stopped but then the aftershocks started,” she wrote. “The ground kept moving and the telephone lines were swaying so we were afraid. Bicycles nearby fell over. By this time, everyone had come out of the buildings to wait in the street. I told my members to keep praying and I did the same.”
In Sacramento, Calif., the Rev. Motoe Yamada, senior pastor of the Japanese United Methodist Church, was able to confirm that her sister and parents in Tokyo were safe and sent e-mails to the list-serves of the denomination’s Japanese American caucus and Asian American Pacific Islander Clergywomen Association, asking members to share information on family and friends living in Japan.
One of her church members called Yamada to let her know that although her family is from Sendai, they happened to be in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake. Sendai was the epicenter of the quake.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief has been monitoring the situation in the Pacific, said Melissa Crutchfield, UMCOR executive for International Disaster Response, and is in contact with partners in the region.
The Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, UMCOR’s top executive, urged prayers for those affected by the disaster. “Once again, in the wake of disaster and in the face of widespread need, we rely on the ever-expansive generosity of United Methodists and all people of goodwill to help us respond to those whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down,” she said.
Emergency response staff members at Church World Service are in contact with the agency’s office in Bangkok, which is monitoring the situation in Japan and across the region. Tsunami warnings are in effect for North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and two local partners for CWS there have been contacted.
Donations can be made to Pacific Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at http://twitter.com/umcscribe.
Advance # 3021317
Providing emergency relief and long-term recovery support for disaster-affected communities
Background / History
“In response to the Earthquake on March 10, 2011 that struck Japan, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will be working with local communities to rebuild. UMCOR is now better able to help when earthquakes and tsunamis or other disasters hit the area. UMCOR works in shelter and infrastructure reconstruction, water and sanitation, income generation, health and nutrition, education and community development.