Update from Salvation Army International Headquarters & Japan Territory:
(March 11, 2011) The Salvation Army in Japan is responding to the earthquake and tsunami that brought devastation to the north side of the country. Communication and travel have been badly hit by the disaster, and at the moment the true cost in human life and property can only be guessed.
The most damaged city is Sendai, about 400 kilometers away from Tokyo. Commissioner Makoto Yoshida, leader of The Salvation Army’s Japan Territory, was at territorial headquarters in Tokyo and reports:
“Our building swayed tremendously,” said Commissioner Yoshida. “It was hard for us to keep standing and many of us were really frightened.”
The Salvation Army, a leader in international emergency disaster services, is responding immediately.
“We are sending a team to Sendai tonight [March 11, JST] and tomorrow we will start providing the basic necessities as well as assessing the level of damage so we can decide what else we can do,” said Yoshida.
Public transport in Tokyo stopped because of the earthquake, leaving many commuters unable to leave work.
“We opened our hall on the ground floor of territorial headquarters to those who could not go home,” said Yoshida. “We served them with hot drinks and packed meals.”
General Shaw Clifton, the international leader of The Salvation Army, has already been in touch with the commissioner to assure him of the prayers and support of Salvationists around the world.
Quick Facts about The Salvation Army’s work in Japan:
- First arrived and started operations within Japan in 1895
- Operates over 80 different facilities across Japan, including hospitals, children’s homes and nurseries, shelters, rehabilitation centers, senior housing and care centers, in addition to over 45 corps community centers.
- The Salvation Army has nearly 1,000 employees and over 150 officers working throughout Japan.