Relief efforts in Japan (update)

Many Episcopalians are rallying to help those stricken by the multiple disasters in Japan over the past half week. While recovery efforts from the 9.0 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami are ongoing, the Japanese people are now dealing with a growing nuclear crisis that was raised to a level 6 this morning (out of a possible 7). The Chernobyl accident was rated a 7.

Anglican Communion News had an overnight update that reports in part:

St. Stephen’s Church in Mito-city, Ibaragi prefecture has lost its bell tower although not completely destroyed with a big crack in the tower, and the church building and rectory suffered substantial damage, cracked and fallen walls and ceiling. Shimodate Anglican Church in Ibaragi prefecture also has sustained significant damage with walls and ceilings damaged. Other churches sustained cracked walls, ceilings and damage to shelves, but it is limited to minor damage.

In other areas within diocese of Tokyo and Yokohama there is no substantial damage to church buildings except broken or cracked window glass, cracks in walls and fallen shelves.

Because of a number of scams already surfacing, Episcopalians might want to especially consider giving to any of a number of reputable agencies, including ERD:

“Episcopal Relief & Development said March 14 that its Japan Earthquake Response Fund will provide support to the province and the Diocese of Tohoku, including the planned emergency relief center at the diocesan building and the provincial response structure capable of dealing with a disaster of this magnitude. That structure will include organizing and supporting a network of volunteers to carry out the relief and restoration work, according to the agency.

After the emergency phase, Episcopal Relief & Development said, it will continue to support the restoration and rehabilitation of affected areas in Japan. It will liaise with other Anglican and international bodies, ‘sharing information and working to ensure that the overall response is coordinated and follows the vision of the [province].’

Episcopal Relief & Development has collaborated with Nippon Sei Ko Kei in the past through broader regional partnerships to address climate change, peace-building and humanitarian initiatives. The agency also said it has been in contact with dioceses affected by the tsunami in Hawaii and on the U.S. west coast and is standing by to offer assistance.

Some congregations in the Episcopal Church have announced fundraising initiatives to help with the relief efforts in Japan.”

More details here.

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