Nagoya (Agenzia Fides) – A campaign of solidarity for the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami that struck the North of Japan will commence tomorrow, 13 March, by Caritas Japan in all Japanese churches. The initiative also takes in Catholic schools, associations and institutions, with the intention of raising funds to help the displaced. Fr Daisuke Narui, Executive Director from Caritas Japan announced this to Fides.
The Director remarks: “Our work is to show love and solidarity especially to the people most vulnerable, such as the elderly, migrants and homeless. We are working with NGOs. Currently we are called to give a testimony to unity and closeness to all human suffering. We already know that the response by the faithful to our appeal will be very generous.”
Drawing a picture of the situation, Fr Nairi explains to Fides: “It is a terrible disaster, one of the worst in the Country's history. In the northern area, most affected, there are already more than 1,000 recorded deaths, hundreds of casualties and internally displaced persons.” Caritas mobilised straight after the tragedy: “Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, we held an emergency meeting by teleconference. The priority now is to gather information from affected areas, but it is difficult because telephone and power lines are still down. The diocese most affected is that of Sendai, but we have not received any reports from the Director of the diocesan Caritas, and this is of great concern. For this reason we are assessing the possibility of an impromptu mission there,” says Fr Naru.
Reflecting on the aftermath of the drama, the priest explains: “I believe in Japan currently, marked by the economic crisis, struck by the social phenomenon of depression and suicide, this painful event may be an opportunity to spread the values of the Gospel, that is, the fraternity of all men and women, the building of common good, the recognition that every person has the dignity of a child of God and is important in the eyes of God. If, with our work and our witness, we can communicate that, then from this evil will come good.” (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/3/2011)
ASIA/JAPAN - Child emergency after the terrible earthquake that struck the Country
Tokyo (Agenzia Fides) – Chidren in Japan and in surrounding countries in the Pacific have never experienced such a crucial moment in their short lives, following the earthquake which according to estimates has already taken a toll of more than a thousand lives. The response from humanitarian organisations and from the Church throughout the world has been immediate. According to a note sent to Fides from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, the assurance of prayers for the victims of the worst ever earthquake to hit Japan in over 140 years, came from Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of Australian Conference of Bishops and the from the Bishops of England and Wales. The Archbishop also urged Caritas Australia to act quickly. An appeal for children affected by the earthquake and by the subsequent tsunami wave also came from the President of the humanitarian organization, Save the Children, Charles F. MacCormack. The organisation, along with other agencies, is committed to giving priority to the needs of children and to providing emergency support. Children are always among the most vulnerable victims in emergency situations and need a targeted intervention to support them physically and emotionally and help them cope with the shock. (AP) (12/3/2011 Agenzia Fides)
Saitama (Agenzia Fides) - “The Church in Japan will respond to the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan, with prayer and solidarity,” said Bishop Marcellinus Daiji Tani to Fides from the Diocese of Saitama, one of the dioceses most affected by the earthquake. “The greatest damage was reported in Sendai,” notes the Bishop, “but my own Diocese of Saitama, a little to the south was also affected, fortunately without human losses. Of particular concern to us is the situation of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. But we must take courage, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow, at Sunday Masses throughout the Country, we will remember the victims, the wounded and the displaced. As a Christian community, we are ready with prayer and solidarity.” The Bishop remarks: “This sad event reminds us that life is in the hands of God and that life is a gift from God. It will be a challenge for all of us to practice and witness to the commandment of love and brotherly love, in this time of Lent.” (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/3/2011)