UPDATED: The Salvation Army Responds to Devastation in Japan

March 11, 2011 - 11:57 AM EST
William C. Hale
will_hale@uss.salvationarmy.org
(404) 728-6700
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Japan- Early Friday morning, a tsunami slammed Japan’s eastern coast following a large earthquake which rocked the region.  Early reports indicate extensive damage to property and significant loss of life.

Salvation Army personnel are assessing the damage and initiating recovery efforts.  Word has been received from Japan’s Territorial Commander, Commissioner Makoto Yoshida.  The Commissioner writes,

“It is reported that there are more than 60 dead confirmed so far and many more missing. The number of houses destroyed are not yet known.

The most damaged city is Sendai which is about 400 km away from Tokyo. Still our building swayed tremendously. It was hard for us to keep standing. Many of us were really frightened.

We are sending a team to Sendai tonight and start tomorrow providing the basic necessities as well as assessing the level of damages and what we can do from now on.

Even in Tokyo the whole public transports stopped and many a commuters could not go home. We opened our hall on the ground floor of THQ building to those who could not go home. We were able to serve them with hot drinks and packed meals.

Thank you for your interest and prayers.”

Currently, those interested in aiding the relief effort are encouraged to give monetary donations.  Monetary funds offer great flexibility and enable local disaster responders to purchase exactly what is needed as close to the disaster zone as possible.

There are four ways people can contribute money to The Salvation Army's disaster relief efforts in Japan:

  • Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
  • By phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • On-line at: www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.
  • By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to: The Salvation Army World Service Office International Relief Fund PO Box630728 Baltimore, MD 21263-072800

At this time, The Salvation Army is not accepting in-kind donations from the general public for disaster relief operations in Japan. 

Bear in mind, it will be extremely difficult and expensive to ship in-kind donations overseas from the United States to Japan.  It is more efficient for disaster relief agencies to purchase needed resources locally.  The best way for U.S. donors to help Japanese disaster survivors is to make a cash donation.  Please note that your local Salvation Army continues to accept donations of used clothing, furniture and other items to support local programming.  Please consider donating your used items to your local Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Since 1895, The Salvation Army has provided emotional, spiritual and physical care to individuals and families in need throughout Japan.  Currently, 81 active officers and 1,068 employees operate 57 church and community centers (Corps), 12 small social service stations (outposts), 2 hospitals, and more than 20 institutions serving children, seniors, the addicted, and other at-risk populations.  Due to the Army’s extensive presence, it is unlikely that volunteers from the United States will be needed for initial recovery operations.

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