From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 07:34:37


                     by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Insik Kim, coordinator for East Asia and the 
Pacific, has been in regular contact with Presbyterian missionaries 
John Schmidt and Sibbett F. (Frank) Sapp in Japan since the 
devastating earthquake that struck the Kobe/Osaka area Jan. 18. 
     All of the more than 30 Presbyterians serving in Japan are 
reported safe.  Frank Sapp has been faxing periodic reports back 
to Louisville since shortly after the quake.  Following are some 
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  
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