1. 03. 2012 | News, Archive 2012

One year after earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan

Evangelical Mission in Solidarity calls for remembrance

Commemoration and prayer (Photo: KYODAN)

The victims in Japan are still a long way from normal life. One year on from the multiple disasters people are still struggling to overcome trauma, to rebuild and to deal with the consequences of nuclear catastrophe. Many have not only lost their homes, but also relatives or even their whole family. On 11 March 2012 the international EMS fellowship wants to remember them and calls for common prayer and a period of silence.

"The people who were evacuated can still not return to search for the bodies of their loved ones and give them a proper burial. Many of them are struggling with feelings of guilt because they were not able to rescue their relatives, or because they do not understand why they alone have survived", says Lutz Drescher after speaking with people who visited the affected areas. The East Asian Liaison Desk Officer of the EMS is in close contact with churches and organizations in Japan and coordinates the activities of solidarity with the people of Japan. In one of them pastors are being trained in the area of professional trauma counseling. "Local churches have taken it upon themselves to visit people who are lonely and traumatized by the disaster and to accompany them", says Drescher. The EMS wants to support them in this task.

In addition to coping with all that they have experienced, people are in constant fear of the "invisible" threat of radioactive contamination. For this reason the United Church of Christ in Japan (KYODAN) built a centre last summer in the Fukushima prefecture in order to monitor radiation. With the financial support of the EMS the church was able to purchase instruments to measure radiation levels in the area as well as in food. In addition to the measurements the team offers discussion groups and training. The centre is particularly intended to assist parents with young children who are afraid of the effects of radiation and fear for the health of their children.

Thanks to donations from churches and individuals the EMS is supporting the KYODAN and the National Christian Council in Japan in the implementation of a variety of projects. "The task of reconstruction and overcoming the catastrophe will take years to complete", says Lutz Drescher. "The Japanese people need our support and our prayers in the long term."

Media contact:

Corinna Waltz, Editor, Tel.: +49 711 636 78 77, waltz@ems-online.org
Gerd Sander, Press Officer, Tel.: +49 711 636 78 85, Mobil: +49 178 636 78 33, sander@ems-online.org