Country: Japan

Surviving a Tsunami

Now a little more than two years after Japan’s 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami, I’m traveling the island nation’s northern coastline. Each place I travel unveils two similar roads. The massive scope of the disaster and the incredible heart of the survivors. Of all the disaster areas I have been to personally, this is the most vast and severe. According to estimates by the World Bank, the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami is the most costly disaster in world history.

The last few days I’ve kneeled and stood reliving two stories with survivors … unimaginable destruction and resilient hope. Here are a few run-ins with survivors who have been helped by the Amazing Grace Relief Center that Convoy of hope has helped to build and supply.

 

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A Team of Heroes

As Pastor Hiroshi Ito opens the doors to a small storefront he explains that the building used to be a convenience store before the 2011 Japan tsunami and earthquake. The Japanese characters above the door now read “Higashi-Matsushima Amazing Grace Center.”

In the relief center that Convoy of Hope has helped to fund, there are piles of clothing, supplies, a small library, children’s activities, coffee and tea ready for distribution. Among the items are also bicycles, heaters, kitchen appliances and other needed items that were donated by Convoy of Hope through our partnership with the center.

As Pastor Ito showed us around the center, Japanese volunteers began to file in to prepare for disaster survivors who would be arriving shortly. Just as volunteers do at our community outreaches in the U.S., it was inspiring to see people coming together to help one another – no matter what nationality.

To get their attention for a group picture I call them “a team of heroes” followed by laughs, smiles and even a flex from Pastor Ito. Thank you for letting me introduce you to some of Ishinomaki’s heroes.

 

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Japan Video Update

Convoy of Hope is teaming up with local relief workers in Japan who have been working hard to help their communities since the earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11.

“We have made a one-year commitment to several cities in Japan where refugees are living in temporary shelters,” says Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope. “The generosity of Convoy of Hope’s partners has enabled us to be on the ground meeting needs.”

Thousands of people fled to Koriyama, a city of 340,000 in the Fukushima prefecture, where refugees are living in a large arena partitioned by cardboard boxes.

Convoy of Hope is establishing a warehouse, securing a relief vehicle and providing personnel to aid our partners based in Koriyama. Convoy of Hope is also providing kitchen sets and other household items to families who lost everything to help them begin to rebuild their lives.

A distribution center will also be established in Sendai, one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster, where the need for food, clean water and supplies is on-going.

Continue to help our relief efforts around the world.

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