Week of Compassion offerings are already at work in Japan. Thank you for your gracious gifts! They are allowing Week of Compassion to respond to the overwhelming needs of the crises that have plagued the country since Friday, March 11. Through Global Ministries, we are supporting our partner, the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), to assist them as they set up their Relief Planning Committee and will continue to support them as they respond to ongoing needs. For more information (including photos) on what the UCCJ is doing, please visit here.
Alongside our continuing support of the UCCJ, Week of Compassion gifts have also been directed to Church World Service (CWS). CWS and its member communions are providing emergency relief support to at least 5,000 families (25,000 people) now living at 100 evacuation sites in the northeastern area of Japan (Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Ibaragi, Tochigi prefectures). Assistance at these sites will include food and other essential items, delivered through a partnership with the Japan Platform, an alliance of 32 humanitarian organizations who have come together to respond to the emergency.
CWS will focus on evacuation sites where the basic needs for food, water, sanitation, electricity and fuel are not being met, as identified and prioritized by the Japan Platform. The need for clean drinking water will be addressed, and blankets are being prioritized to help protect people from the cold - an increasingly dire reality as fuel and gas supplies run out. In order to maintain radio contact at evacuation sites, batteries will be supplied, enabling survivors to receive vital news, especially on nuclear radiation-related developments. Gas and fuel supplies will also be sent to evacuation sites.
Although Japan is considered one of the most developed countries in the world, the unimaginable magnitude of the damage will place extraordinary pressures on every relief and humanitarian service in the country. Thanks to the great capacity of the Japan Platform, CWS hopes to relieve some of that pressure and alleviate people's suffering with funds raised through the appeal it has issued late last week, to which Week of Compassion has already participated.
While monetary gifts are the most effective and immediate way to respond to the crises in Japan, CWS hygiene kits would also be appreciated. The kits that were already sent to Japan were those pre-positioned in our CWS warehouses in the region. Those warehouses will need to be restocked. Please visit here for more information.
For further updates from our Global Ministries missionaries Jeffrey Mensendiek, Martha Mensendiek and Casilda Luzares from Japan, please visit this site.
We ask for your prayers and ongoing support of our relief and recovery efforts in Japan, for our partners at the UCCJ, CWS, and the Japan Platform, the missionaries representing us, but most of all for our sisters and brothers there who are suffering so greatly. Thank you for your courageous compassion and partnership thus far. For we know that when even one suffers, we all suffer (1 Cor 12:26).
In other news, Refugee and Immigration Ministries (RIM) reports that the Department of Homeland Security has begun to deport Haitians who have been ordered removed. Previously, Haitians were not being removed given the devastation in their country due to the January 2010 earthquake. Human rights groups have expressed concern about returning people to an unstable situation. In fact, one of the first 27 Haitians deported has died of cholera. Learn more here.
RIM is a program of Disciples Home Missions supported by your Week of Compassion offerings.