THE Bishop of Kyushu, the Rt Revd Luke Kenichi Muto, held an emergency meeting last Sunday to organise support for victims of the earthquakes that struck the area on Thursday and Saturday of last week.
On Kyushu, the southern island of Japan, at least a thousand people were injured, and 43 people killed. Nine people are still reported missing. Buildings, roads, and bridges were destroyed.
In the past week, the region has experienced hundreds of smaller tremors.
On Sunday, 100,000 people remained in shelters, and on Monday, 250,000 people were told to evacuate their homes because of fears of further tremors. Roads were destroyed in landslides, leaving mountain villages cut off.
Several churches on Kyushu have been damaged. At Holy Trinity, Kumamoto, the Revd Timothy Yamasaki held a Sunday service despite cracked walls and a damaged ceiling.
A statement on the Kyushu Anglican website said that Holy Trinity had been chosen as the headquarters of the Anglican relief effort. “At this stage,” it says, “volunteers are asked not to try to rush to Kumamoto to help, but to wait. Financial support, rather than sending goods, is welcome.”
The World Lutheran Federation has also reported widespread damage to churches and a school.
On Sunday, Pope Francis offered a prayer for victims of the earthquakes in Japan, and also in Ecuador, where an earthquake struck on Saturday. “May the help of God and of their brothers give them strength and support,” he said.
In Burma, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 hit Myanmar, north-west of Mandalay, on Wednesday of last week. Because it occurred at a depth of about 140 km (87 miles), it caused less damage than the Japanese earthquakes. There have been no reported casualties.