Japan: Two Years Later

2 comments Written on March 11th, 2013     
Filed under: Disaster Relief
Today, March 11, marks the anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan two years ago. Covenant World Relief is still working with partners in Japan, providing ongoing relief and development to victims of the disasters. Your ongoing gifts for Japan are providing for the long-term care and work to continue.

Much has been done in the past two years! Below is an update from one of our partners about the progress that has been made:

Matsui-san, who worked closely with the United Project and 3.11 Network in Miyako City, has returned to Hokkaido in December 2012. I was kindly invited to visit her house in Sapporo City leading to my first trip to Hokkaido as part of my winter vacation.

The journey was 444 kilometers, including a 2-hour car trip, an overnight trip on a ferry, and another car trip after that. Although I could imagine the long distances in my head, actually travelling this journey made me feel all the sacrifice and hard work that many volunteers has chosen to do over almost two years of United Project’s stay in Iwate.

Even now, many volunteers come to Miyako City to serve weekly. Thanks to the constant support of these volunteers, we are able to continue to deepen our relationship with the local community. Despite this current situation, I am forced to think of how long we can continue United Project’s work in Iwate. It has now been almost two years since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Iwate. The reconstruction of the city has been proceeding quickly, and looking around the city it is difficult to spot any physical trace of this disaster.

Someone asked me, “Shouldn’t you be thinking of what you should be doing next?” After the Great Hashin Earthquake [in January 1995], some groups in the affected areas decided to end relationships with volunteer groups, as constant support from volunteer groups made the local community feel like victims, thus restricting the true “reconstruction” of the community.

However, while I was thinking about how long the United Project should be continuing our work in Iwate, I received a letter from a lady saying that United Project came right when she was about to breakdown. Through these relationships it is evident that even two years after the Tsunami, some real concerns still remain. Victims comment that “I still cannot go outdoors as I am afraid of seeing the remains of the disaster” or “Is there hope for a time where I can get a job and save up enough money to leave temporary housing?”

Although it is important for the United Project to continually think of how long we should be operating in Iwate under our current financial and staff constraints, it is absolutely crucial to continue to visit and pour out our love and encouragement onto those that need it the most.

Please continue to join us in prayer as we remember those whose lives were affected by the disasters two years ago.



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2 comments “Japan: Two Years Later”

Thank you for the update on the United Project. Although things seem to be going well in the Miyako City area, I understand that in many areas reconstruction has been quite slow (NHK News). Is it possible to move the project to a more needy area? 

I know God is working in the Tohoku area, and I am grateful that the Covenant has such a presence there. Volunteers are still needed in many places.

Blessings on your work.

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  Thanks for your comment and question.  The United Project is part of a larger network called the 3.11 Network which is focused on the whole coastline of Iwate Prefecture.  There are several other towns and villages where CWR funds are being used.  I am planning a visit to Japan in May and will look forward to seeing and hearing about what has been done during this last year.

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