A Letter from Japan: After Disaster, Life in Tokyo

March 16, 2011 - 8:46 PM EDT
Captain Christopher Marques

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A Letter from Japan: After Disaster, Life in Tokyo

An American Salvation Army Officer Describes Life in Tokyo

Captain Christopher Marques is a young Salvation Army Officer (minister) who is from Decatur, Illinois, but is currently stationed at The Salvation Army’s Headquarters for Japan. His normal work is with the young people in Japan. Following are some excerpts from a message we received from him early on Wednesday Morning, March 16.

…Thank you for your prayers. They are perhaps the greatest gift we can use right about now. As you know, the country is still being shaken by aftershocks; even today we just felt a larger one after lunch. But so far they have not been near the level we saw on Friday I am starting to get used to the ground shaking a little bit on and off, but still am surprised by some of the frequent medium-sized incidents.

There is still a problem with the reactors that are critical and leaking in the Fukushima area (in-between Tokyo and the tsunami-hit area of Sendai). The immediate area surrounding the plant has, of course, been evacuated from a 30 kilometer radius.

For now, those near the affected area who have not been evacuated or staying in temporary shelters have been advised to stay indoors. In the rest of the country we aren't moving much since gas/petrol is hard to find…the fuel lines are still stretching for blocks for anyone trying to get their car filled up.

The power supply is being cut in various areas to save the whole electrical system from crashing. With subways and trains running reduced schedules, and cars being used less- many are either using bicycles, walking or staying home.

The stores are struggling to keep shelves full and some things are simply impossible to find—even for us trying to get food for the relief victims. Today was not quite as crowded or busy in the grocery/convenience stores.

Most of us here have thankfully been able to go to work each day and help manage the relief effort from our Tokyo office.

My boss has left to help support the first relief teams that are further north. He has training and experience with disaster situations, so he was a natural choice along with the rest of the group. However, he is very close to the reactor area helping with victims and I pray for his safe return.

Today, during our daily morning devotions, we sang Count Your Blessings, and that song really came alive as we thanked God for our lives, His protection, our basic needs being met at this time and just having shelter, clothing and access to some kind of food each day.

We appreciate your continued prayer support for the people here during this difficult time. May God bless you all back home and keep you hearts firmly connected to Him.

God Bless You,

Chris

Source: Captain Christopher Marques, The Salvation Army Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan

The Salvation Army has had a presence in Japan since 1895 and is also mobilizing a significant international response to manage both immediate and long-term needs.  Two experienced International Emergency Services workers have flown to Tokyo from International Headquarters in London to assist their Japanese colleagues.  The Salvation Army's Korea Territory has arranged for the K-Water Corporation to provide 100,000 bottles of water to be sent to Japan – 30,000 bottles by the end of the week, followed by the rest within a short time; the Korea Disaster Relief Association will also be sending 5,000 first-aid kits.

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

Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized. 

These funds offer the greatest flexibility and enable local disaster responders to purchase exactly what is needed as close to the disaster zone as possible.

  • Text the words “JAPAN” or “QUAKE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
  • By phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • On-line at:  https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org
  • By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to:  The Salvation Army World Service Office International Relief Fund PO Box 630728 Baltimore, MD 21263-0728

At this time, The Salvation Army is not accepting donations of goods or household items (gifts-in-kind) from the general public for disaster relief operations in Japan.

The Salvation Army is extremely grateful for the generosity that has already poured in to help us meet both immediate and long-term needs.

Photo: People enjoy drinks prepared in The Salvation Army's mobile emergency canteen in Sendai.

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