|Press Release - March 16, 2011|
|Wednesday, 16 March 2011 19:41|
First CRASH Base Camp to be Established Ahead of Schedule
Tokyo, Japan – March 16, 2011 – With volunteers working overtime, CRASH is sending their first team to establish a base at Meysen Academy in Sendai on Thursday, March 17th – four days sooner than previously anticipated. The team consists of volunteers who have committed at least two weeks, and will ensure that the site is a secure base of operations from which future teams can operate safely and effectively in Sendai.
CRASH is also partnering with Hope International Development Agency to bring in truckloads of supplies to be distributed from the CRASH bases. These supplies include such things as blankets, bedding, first aid equipment, portable hospitals, and water purification systems.
Volunteers continue to pour into the CRASH command center at Matsukawa Place in Higashi-Kurume. What began as six or seven people giving their time the day after the quake has grown to more than one hundred, with more coming in every day.
The volunteers are a diverse group; missionaries, school teachers, office workers, and high school students. They work in teams handling things such as volunteer coordination, communications, fundraising, and gathering information. Team leaders are busy, but positive, and the atmosphere at Matsukawa Place is focused.
A spirit of generosity flourishes in Japan as many people show a willingness to give. High-school volunteers raised nearly $400 in downtown Shibuya on Tuesday by simply asking for donations. Other donations have also been coming both in monetary form and as supplies.
Amidst reports of electricity shortages and needs of water and shelter are stories of hope and encouragement. Mary Jo Ruck, a missionary in Sendai says that today, aid arrived in her area from Misawa Air Base in the form of supplies. “Help is arriving,” she said. “People are banding together to encourage and help each other.”
Speaking of his neighborhood’s effort to help repair each other’s roofs, Simon Clark, an English teacher in Ibaraki, said “There's a big feeling of community here. I think after a national disaster it's something people cling to.”
Missionary Philip Foxwell, whose home rests on a hill next to the beach in Sendai, rushed to the town after the Tsunami, and returned to share his experiences:
“Many of my neighbors are like aunts and uncles to me. I was expecting to find that twenty-five of my close friends had died—but instead I found all of them sitting together in a shelter. There was more hugging and emotion than I’ve ever experienced in Japan. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.”
Foxwell also emphasized the delicacy of the situation. “It’s dangerous to do very much right now with earthquakes still going on,” he said. “Recovery will take months and months of cleaning and rebuilding.”
Photos courtesy of Philip Foxwell