3/14 Earthquake Update03.14.11

An unseasonably warm and beautiful day contrasted with images on TV. In Miyagi Prefecture alone, the body count was over 2000…many of those washed up on the beach today. Bodies are lined up in community centers and even a kindergarten. Tomorrow the temperature will drop to freezing in the quake affected areas. Missing persons top 10,000 in that prefecture alone.

I planted flowers- probably equivalent to planting a tree- and struggled with keeping my youngest (9) occupied in productive ways. School is canceled at least through Wednesday, likely longer, and since there is no gasoline at the stations, we stayed close to home. Our street corner was lively with young grandmas and kids who would normally be at day care or school. I fit right in age-wise (!) Although I am new to the neighborhood, people are quite friendly. The wife of the mayor of our area just dropped by with a map to a market within walking distance which trucks in fresh food each morning.

One mom a few houses away gave birth last week, and the day she came home from the hospital, she had to run out of the house with her baby to escape the shaking. She is lucky; her mother has come to help her so they were able to buy food, water, and necessary supplies. Today at the store there was very little on the shelves. In the long lines I saw several exhausted moms with little ones on their backs or in strollers anxiously looking for scarce items including formula and diapers. A few people view it as unnecessary panic to stock up on items. Most view it as being responsible in order to not cause trouble to others…in addition to being smart. Twice in the last half hour warnings for a strong earthquake centered in Nagano (a completely different fault line running at roughly a 90 degree angle to the ones which caused the 9.0 earthquake) have flashed on the screen. In both cases, the subsequent quakes were moderate. I’d like to think that will relieve the pressure and things will calm down, but there are other ways to look at it.

The #2 Fukushima reactor is melting (#1 and #3 have already had explosions and lost their outer housing). There is also a fire on the premises which appears to be caused by a crane which fell over and caught on fire. Fukushima is far from Tokyo (240 kilometers) but no matter how you look at it, things aren’t fine.

We were lucky and did not experience any blackouts today though two were scheduled for our area. We will see what happens tomorrow. Just in case, we have to plan ahead for what can be eaten/drunk without electricity. Since the water system uses electricity for pumps, we’ve been told that during blackouts we probably won’t have water.

It’s a little hard to know how we should spend our time. We are far from people who need physical help, and far from our church. In addition to planting flowers, I cleaned my house and tried to organize so that if we need to house people for a while we will be able to more comfortably. There are two weeks left to my spring break from the university…I wonder how soon things will go back to “normal” in our area. Should I start planning for my spring classes, or should I spend time volunteering with a group who does relief work? Should I focus on contacting old friends from Gunma by phone or internet to see if they need encouragement and a reminder that the God of all creation cares about them? I suspect the answer is a mix of all the above, praying all the way.

Many of you have asked about how to donate funds either towards relief efforts or our ministry. Here are two links if you are interested.



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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

3 Responses to “3/14 Earthquake Update”

  1. Isn’t it interesting that because of media coverage that spreads globally in seconds, the whole world watches this disaster unfold in detail. Yet, we feel more than a world away, and powerless, when thinking of attempts to reach out and help even in the simplest ways. Keeping children occupied and family/home taken care of while praying for God’s leading is a high calling, Andrea!! I’m doing the same here….

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    Posted by Linda McAllister on 12/13/09 March 15th, 2011 at 1:24 AMReply

  2. Andy, there are no words to adequately convey our sentiments. We cannot even imagine the strain that all folks are feeling in Japan – especially those that have lost or have missing loved ones. May love surround all!


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    Posted by Julie on 12/13/09 March 15th, 2011 at 2:52 AMReply

  3. I think planting flowers was an excellent idea as it symbolizes hope. May God give you peace and hope for each day as well as strength to encourage others. You are having an opportunity to become a part of your new community and I know you will be a blessing there. Much love to you my friend.

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    Posted by Ronna on 12/13/09 March 15th, 2011 at 6:12 AMReply

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