we touched this same spot with our hands, our feet, our gaze and our dreams

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A REPORT FROM JAPAN


24 March 2011

I watch the evacuated people in school gymnasiums and public arenas living in simple conditions.  Some have cardboard separating family units.  They have little food in some evacuation centers although this is rapidly improving.  The Budokan is the first evacuation center in Tokyo to serve hot meals to the evacuees 6 days after they started to arrive!  I attended a Billy Graham Crusade in this same hall in the 60's.  I particularly notice the children.  They are playing, laughing and smiling.  Children are more resilient than we give them credit for!  The Japanese government has said no children orphaned will be adopted by families in other countries.

In the devastated area more than half of the residents are over 60.  They have lost everything!  Many young people leave that area for jobs in Tokyo and other big cities.  I've watched older men and women cry over their loss of loved ones and life as they knew it.

I have watched as some people have gone back to their devastated homes.  They are not hoping to find something of material value but of sentimental value.  Perhaps a family photo or a photo of a lost child or something precious to a family member.

High school graduates cannot have a graduation ceremony (graduation is in March in Japan) because their school is destroyed or housing the homeless.  There are close to a half million homeless.

The cost of reconstruction will be the highest due to such a disaster.  Estimates are $309 billion - almost four times the cost after Hurricane Katrina in the US.

Many people in Japan (including some foreigners) are irritable and short tempered.  There is the radiation concern, radiation in some foods and now radio active iodine in Tokyo's drinking water.  The government has said children under 1 should not drink it but it is safe at the present for anyone over 1.  There are aftershocks, supply interruptions, etc. especially in the Tokyo area and north.  I heard today that some areas built on reclaimed land in the Chiba area are having trouble with sewage disposal due to the earthquake and cannot flush their toilets, etc.  Chiba is quite far from the devastated area but it was rocked pretty good.  The Tokyo Narita Airport is in Chiba as is Japan's Disneyland.

One bank (actually today I heard several banks) in the devastated area was destroyed but its vault survived.  Power failures or malfunction caused the door to open and a half million dollars were stolen.  By and large, this is an exception.  There are not a lot of reports of looting although according to one person I talked to it is happening.

I, like you, listen to the cries and heartache of a mother who lost her child or that of a husband who lost his wife.  In some instances they watched them being swept away and blame themselves for not being able to save them.  My heart cry as I listen to these stories is, "Jesus, heal their hearts, heal their memories."  The psychological impact is beyond description.  Pray!

Volunteers are flooding the area.  One area asked for 60 and got 600!  Other areas, however, are still lacking volunteers.  I've talked to some who have gone in.  Unspeakable destruction!  Yet recovery and reconstruction is in full swing!  Please pray for strength, wisdom, physical and mental healing, and recovery!  Please pray for the heroes working to stabilize the nuclear reactors.  They and many others are heroes beyond description.  Through all the horror and devastation may Jesus be lifted up and may many come to know Him!

My heart is broken for the people in the Tohoku area.  There are so many immediate needs and there will be many long term needs.  Your ongoing prayers are appreciated!

Thank you for reading and for praying!

Darryl Fast, Destiny International, Nagoya

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