According to the United Nations, Japan is the 5th most exposed nation in the world to natural hazards. Over 20% of world's earthquakes occur in Japan which is also home to 10% of the world's active volcanoes. Japan also experiences weather related hazards such as typhoons, tornadoes and flooding. But perhaps worst of all is the Japan's exposure to all of the tsunami generated in the Pacific Ocean. Despite the extreme risk of hazard, Japan also is very resourceful and diligent in preparing for disasters with highly trained emergency rescue teams and very strict building codes for earthquakes. However, there is still much that Christians can do to be better prepared for disaster, and there are many lessons that we have learned from the Great East Japan Disaster that can help Christians to be better equipped to bring help and hope to their communities when disaster strikes.
CRASH Japan is working with national and international partners to prepare the church in Japan for the next disaster,
1) Emotional and Spiritual Care Training
During the Great East Japan Disaster the needs for food and shelter were soon met, but the intangible need for hope still lingers. CRASH Japan trained volunteers and staff in basic psychological first-aid, team-care and self-care. We also trained specialized teams to visit those in evacuation centers and temporary housing and provide emotional and spiritual care. One of the greatest needs that was expressed by those who served in Tohoku was a desire for chaplaincy training to equip those who can help minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of those who are caring for others. CRASH is working to train a corps of chaplains to be ready for the next disaster.
2) Online and Offline Church Networks
Cooperation and collaboration work best when there is open communication between all the groups working at a disaster, fostering teamwork and reducing waste. CRASH is working on on-line and mobile solutions that will allow rapid assessment, training, and volunteer coordination.
3) Regional Seminars
When the predicted Nankai and Tonankai offshore earthquakes occur, the government of Japan predicts that deaths and damage will be over ten times that of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Because these quakes are expected to affect heavily populated urban areas it is vital that response capacity be decentralized and that each region become equipped to respond to the needs of other regions as well as their own local area. CRASH is building support networks throughout the nation of Japan and is holding seminars and training camps to train and equip Christians to be ready.
The United Nations has calculated that every $1 spent in reducing disaster risk and preparing for a disaster is worth $7 spent in responding to it afterwards. And yet less than 1% of aid is spent beforehand. CRASH Japan is committed to Acting Now and Saving Later.
Over the last two years CRASH Japan has trained over a hundred child trauma volunteers and provided OperationSAFE camps and events for over 500 children in Tohoku. In 2013 we have already held special Easter events in Ibaraki and Miyagi and will be conducting OperationSAFE camps for children during the summer as well. OperationSAFE will also be working with partners in Sichuan, China to hold camps for children affected by the massive quake there in April.
Over the last two years CRASH Japan has mobilized volunteers to work over a combined total of 40,000 days bringing millions of dollars worth of aid and support to dozens of communities in Tohoku. From the early days of damage assessment and setting up volunteer bases, to the massive distribution of aid and supplies CRASH volunteers worked together with local churches to bring help and hope to stricken communities.
CRASH has handed over its volunteer bases to local church networks in Iwate and Fukushima and members of our field staff have continued to work as part of these local efforts. Volunteers from both within Japan and abroad continue to come and work directly with the local networks to sustain the work indefinately. Programs begun with support from CRASH are continuing in sustainable ways helping to provide tsunami survivors with dignity.
CRASH is supporting ongoing work in Tohoku through partnerships with local church networks, local programs and our CRASH field office in Sendai, Miyagi.
In 2005, God placed a burden on my heart to prepare the church in Japan to serve their communities in times of disaster. At that time, I did not know what to do, only that something needed to be done so that the church could fulfill its God-given role of being a source of compassion and hope in difficult times. Looking back, it now seems obvious that God was indeed preparing us for the work of the last two years bringing help and hope to Tohoku.
We learned about emotional and spiritual care, child trauma work, and volunteer management through responding alongside other organizations to disasters both here in Japan and abroad and built up trusted networks of Christians with a passion to bring God's love to their cities. All of this was put to use, stretched and further developed as the church in Japan responded to the tsunami of 2011. Christians in Tohoku have become partners with their communities, sharing their pain and difficulties and earning the right to share the hope they have within them. Volunteers from all over Japan have seen this with their own eyes and are taking a vision home with them to reach their own communities the same way. We want to celebrate everything that the Lord has done, but the of equipping the church to bring help and hope to the world is only beginning. Thank you for praying, giving and volunteering with CRASH Japan.
In 2013 CRASH Japan will continue to work helping local churches by mobilizing the body of Christ to bring help and hope to those in need. We are going to do that in three ways.
CRASH Japan is a Christian disaster relief organization based in Tokyo. We mobilize volunteers and work with local churches to bring help, hope, and healing in the name of Jesus Christ. "Love on Japan" is CRASH Japan's response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that began on March 11, 2011.
Please continue to support Japan. GIVE | PRAY | VOLUNTEER
CRASH Japan Phone from Overseas: +81-50-1213-1388 Phone from within Japan: 050-1213-1388 Fax: 050-1213-1388 Address: 1-2-12-105 Shinkawa-cho, HIgashikurume-shi, Tokyo-to 203-0013 JAPAN HQ Map: Google Maps Email Form: Click Here