Sea of Japan earthquake - Wikipedia

Japan (MNN) — Rescue efforts underway in the wake of strong quake in west central Japan.

serving lineJapan (MNN) – We are not even a week into 2024, and Japan has already seen enough disaster to rattle even the most cynical soul.

It began with a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on New Year’s Day, which triggered multiple major aftershocks, tsunami alerts, and a collision between a Coast Guard plane carrying emergency supplies and a passenger aircraft at the Haneda airport in Tokyo. “We never expected 2024 to start with this huge disaster; we haven’t even seen the end of it because it’s still shaking,” says A3’s Vice President for Innovative Initiatives, Takeshi Takazawa.

drinking waterThe original quake shook the Noto Peninsula in the central prefecture of Ishikawa on Monday afternoon, collapsing buildings and sparking fires.   Families gathered to celebrate a few days of holiday together, so there were more people in the buildings. As the rescue workers scour the rubble for survivors, the death toll is expected to rise dramatically.

Takazawa explained that fear accompanies a natural disaster like an earthquake because “Earthquake, there is no place to go because your foundation is shaking, and things are breaking, and there is nothing you can do.” Between the initial disaster’s rumbling and the major aftershocks, the tension mounts because a quake isn’t like a fire or a disease outbreak.

“This is absolutely beyond any human control, and you can’t predict it.”

Additionally, getting aid to the survivors got complicated. The quake’s epicenter was in the northern part of the Noto Peninsula, a secluded area with limited access. After an emergency meeting, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida explained that a destroyed road cut access completely, necessitating airlifts for supply deliveries.

sendai strategy prayer mtg 500pxTakazawa says A3’s organization came out of the response to the 2011 triple disaster. He explains, “Our A3 pastor training alumni worked together to create (a) network in the Sendai/Fukushima area, and now it’s expanded to a nationwide disaster response church network.” Once the government response and victim rescue winds down, they’ll activate the network to figure out how best to help the survivors recover. As they wait, they’re praying. “That’s our first response: Pray asking God, ‘Please save those people, and not just physically but eternally, spiritually, they will be saved’.”

Sennan Chapel, Yamamato-ChoThousands evacuated Ishikawa Prefecture and find themselves wondering what will happen next. Though the injuries may not be visible, Takazawa says, “It’s not just physical. People will lose hope. Post-traumatic disorder will happen because this earthquake has a significant impact on our emotions and psychological effects.”

This story will fade from the headlines in a few days, but the reality for the survivors and those second and third-wave responders is that their work will just be starting. The faith community will be central to those responses, and it’s a long-term investment. Takazawa asks,

“Please pray that people will wake up to God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice for us so that even though this earthquake will take away everything that we tried to hold on to, Jesus will hold us and He will place us in (an) unshakable place for eternity.”

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