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Christian network: Japan disaster victims still ‘isolated and uncertain’

June 4, 2012

TOKYO

Many victims of the March 11, 2011 northeast Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster are still “feeling isolated and uncertain about their future,” a Japanese interdenominational relief network reports.

“The triple disasters ... claimed the lives of 20,000 people. The number of people that continue to suffer as a result of these disasters cannot be counted. Although one year has passed, for those affected, the painful memories of that day have not faded,” said the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network, also called Touhoku HELP. The report was released April 29.

The network was founded in Japan’s northeastern city of Sendai, one week after March 11 and close to the epicenter of the magnitude-nine quake that triggered a tsunami and radiation leakage from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The network has provided spiritual care to disaster victims through listening, counseling, and hosting a radio program. It assists those in temporary housing. It has also confirmed the extent of damage to more than 200 churches and is helping 17 damaged churches. Toukoku (which means “northeast”) HELP is also aiding 158 church-related households.

It has created a network among disaster-affected churches and promotes cooperation between them and churches worldwide. The network set up centers to measure radiation levels in food, supports foreign victims of the disaster and promotes their relief work, according to its new English website: www.touhokuhelp.com.

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