On April 17, 2016 CRASH Founder Jonathan Wilson posted the following update:
My advice for Christians who want to help. Wait for the rescue work to finish, let the military and government do their jobs, and aim for the next part of the task. There are three main roles that volunteers can do well.
1. Cleaning up – there will be a lot of clean up work to do that requires manual labor. Work with local churches to volunteer to clean up their damage and those of their neighbors.
2. Caring for the long-term evacuees – It is stressful being in evacuation and not knowing what is going to happen. Mobile cafes were very successful in Tohoku to bring some comfort and emotional care to those who are displaced long-term.
3. Child trauma work – opsafeintl.com will be providing training throughout Kyushu for any churches that want to hold camps for children who were affected by the quakes.
All of these roles will start once the rescue work is over. Until then pray, give and make plans.
Our hope is that the aftershocks have started to settle down and Japan can move out of the first 48 hours of survival and into the first stage of relief. In the last 24 hours there have been over 50 quakes of intensity 3 and 4 (enough to knock things over but not causing serious damage) but none stronger than that. Praise the Lord!
Right now there are a few more numbers that I am watching. The first is the number of evacuees displaced by the disaster. Currently there are 184,000 taking shelter and this is a very large number of people who also need food, water, medicine, clothing and sanitation. This will be the main focus of the government and military as well as restoring utility and transportation connections. We are seeing desperate appeals for all kinds of items that they are running short of at the moment. But expect large amounts of stockpiled relief supplies to be trucked, shipped and airlifted in by the 20,000 SDF troops that have been deployed. This will happen over the next 2 to 3 days. So unless you are in Kyushu already, don’t load up a truck to send supplies. If you do, don’t dump t
hem on a pastor there unless they are still absolutely needed! Ask, listen and if they are no longer needed, take them back with you.
The next number I am looking at is the number of houses and structures that have been damaged by the quake. This is currently officially tallied at 1479 homes. This gives us an idea of how many of the 184,000 in evacuation shelters might be there long-term. This number is not yet complete – it will probably double by the time they get everything assessed over the next week. If it hits 3000 and the average Japanese household has 2.5 members then 7500 people will be displaced long-term. Most likely the rest of the 184,000 should be out of the evacuation centers as soon as the shaking stops. That could be as soon as the end of next week.