Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marianist Family in Japan

Tsunami by Katsushita Hokusai
News from Japan – David Herbold, SM writes to us regarding the Marianist Family

Most of the major details concerning the major earthquake and the tsunamis that struck Japan on Friday, March 11, and now the serious situation with the nuclear power plant and reactor in Fukushima, Japan are already known around the world through news reports.

As for the Marianist Family in Japan, I can report that the members of the Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate are OK. None of our communities or works is in the area of Japan most affected by that earthquake and the resulting tsunamis. Our communities and works in the Greater Tokyo area "felt," to say the least, the Friday earthquake (and the frequent aftershocks since then) but there have been no reports to the SM Regional Administration of any injuries or major damage.

There have been no reports to the Regional Administration of injuries to members of the MLC either. There are no MLC groups in the Sendai area itself or that general area of northeast Japan. Our new AM member is OK, I believe. We are not sure of the situation of relatives of members of the FMI or of MLC members who might be living in that part of Japan.  Although the communication situation (phones, cellphones, etc.) has been resolved in the Greater Tokyo area itself, communication problems with the northeastern part of Japan have not been resolved.

As news reports indicate, over 1000 individuals have died and over 10,000 people are still missing or unaccounted for so the death count will probably go much higher – whole towns and villages and hamlets were wiped away by the tsunami. Many groups of people are still cut off by the waters left by the tsunamis. Some 370,000 people have been evacuated from the areas most affected. The tsunami alert has been lifted, but the experts says that there could be another strong earthquake ( 7 + ) in the next two to three days.

The Bishops of Japan have asked that contributions for the victims from Catholics here in Japan be directed to Caritas Japan; we would suggest that individuals or groups in other parts of the Marianist world wishing to contribute might do so through Catholic Charities, or other such organizations, in their own countries and areas.

Dave Herbold, SM
(for Fr. Louis Shimizu, SM)