From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ACCOUNT SET UP FOR JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF,
05 May 1996 07:32:52
95026 ACCOUNT SET UP FOR JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF,
PCUSA HOSPITAL PLAYS KEY MEDICAL ROLE
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Presbyterian World Service (PWS) has established
a special account for those wishing to contribute to relief efforts
in Japan following the devastating Jan. 18 earthquake that killed
more than 5,000 in the Kobe/Osaka area.
Three times that number were injured, a quarter million people
were left homeless, and hundreds of buildings were destroyed
The PWS account number is 9-2000117 and it is labeled "Japan
Earthquake Relief." Presbyterians may contribute through their
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, PWS sent $10,000 for
immediate relief help to the Japan North American Commission on
Cooperative Mission, an ecumenical partner agency of the PCUSA.
That contribution came from One Great Hour of Sharing offering
Other Japanese partners in the relief efforts include the
Reformed Church of Japan and the United Church of Christ in Japan.
The PCUSA has 45 missionaries in Japan, including 14 in the
area affected by the quake. All have been reported safe.
Yodogawa Christian Hospital Plays Key Role
According to the Rev. Dan Rift, PWS coordinator, Presbyterians
are playing a key role in the relief efforts through the
denomination's Yodogawa Christian Hospital in Osaka, which came
through the earthquake relatively unscathed. Because it is pretty
much fully operational, the hospital has been a primary receiving
site for the injured.
Presbyterian missionaries assigned to the hospital are the
Rev. Lardner and Mollie Moore.
Dr. Seiya Shirakata, hospital superintendent, said, "The
equipment is working fine and we are able to do our normal work.
I hear some of our staff members' houses collapsed, but nobody got
injured and we are all doing fine. I am so thankful to God for
In addition to the efforts at the hospital, three churches in
the Kobe area are being used as relief centers. Partner church
officials there report that about a dozen churches have been
completely destroyed, another dozen suffered major damage and
countless others sustained lesser degrees of damage.
Moderator Offers to Hand Carry Letters
General Assembly moderator the Rev. Robert W. Bohl, who had
previously scheduled a visit to Japan, has offered to carry letters
of concern and support from U.S. Presbyterians to partner
Christians in the quake-stricken area.
Individual Presbyterians or congregations wishing to send such
messages should send them to Presbyterian World Service at the
Presbyterian Center in Louisville. Letters must be received in
Louisville by Feb. 10.
Missionary Gives Eyewitness Account
Insik Kim, coordinator for East Asia and the Pacific in the
Worldwide Ministries Division, established immediate contact with
Presbyterian missionary Sibbett F. (Frank) Sapp right after the
For the better part of two days, Sapp faxed periodic reports
back to Louisville. Following are some excerpts:
07:33 - 1/18/95: Had a telephone call from Yodogawa Christian
Hospital - they are fine. Dr. Shirakate, Director of YCH, is fine
and has had word from the Moores and Schmidts that they are okay.
The Hastings are at Kobe Union Church as their house is off the
foundation (they were living out of their van on a junior high
school playing field the first day).
08:25 - 1/18/95: Schmidts just called they are ok. Their house
is ok though there is some superficial damage. Electricity has
just been restored to their house but they are without water and
0:19 A.M. - 1/19/95: Television version of the damage looks like
pictures from the Second World War. So far there are 240,000
refugees, almost 1200 buildings reported destroyed - 800 still
contain people as of tonight. Temperatures are in the
neighborhood of freezing and Monday expects rain. Tents have
appeared in schoolyards many people are afraid of sleeping in
buildings yet. There is a possibility of another major shock
during the next 30 days or so.
Two Reformed churches (partner church) have been rendered useless.
Many other churches suffered varying degrees of damage.
0:38 A.M. - 1/19/95: Just talked to John Schmidt. He tells me
that after further examination, the Hastings house is completely
unlivable. John has been able to reach Pastor Yang at the Chinese
Church and all are safe. That area was hard hit, so we are
01:57 A.M. - 1/19/95: The latest figures on deaths show 2943. We
will see more than 3,000 and there will likely be 4,000 before it
is all over. 1923 was the last time an earthquake claimed more
than 3,000 lives. There are 800 buildings with people still
trapped. 18 or so fires are still raging. These are not quite as
large as the Nagata blaze which destroyed about 5 square kilometers
of residential area mostly very old wooden apartment buildings.
A high percentage of deaths is among the elderly.
This is the second day with no gas, no water and insufficient food.
There are not enough blankets or food or water. Even if there were
enough, delivery is almost impossible. In many cases they are
having to resort to helicopters to lift in emergency food to school
grounds because streets are clogged with refuse and automobiles.
There is no infrastructure left. The "life lines" as they are
calling them are all cut. Telephones, utilities and support
services have disappeared.
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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