Japan earthquake, tsunami assessment underway


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Southern Baptist relief workers are assessing needs in the aftermath of an earthquake that struck Japan March 11, spawning a 23-foot tsunami that crashed into the country’s eastern coast and moved on out across the Pacific Ocean.

Police said at least 60 people were killed and 56 missing, according to news reports. The death toll is expected to continue to rise. A complete picture of the destruction in Japan has yet to emerge, and tsunami-related damage in other countries also could cause significant damage.

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told reporters.

Baptist Global Response has partners in the affected region who are moving to assess the damage, said Ben Wolf, who with his wife, Pam, directs work in the Asia Rim for Baptist Global Response.

We hope to have someone on ground tomorrow for an initial assessment and contact with Baptist partners there, Wolf said. “We have great Baptist partners that we will contact and see how we can initally support them with resources and expertise in the response.

Concerned individuals are asked to pray for families affected by the disaster and for humanitarian workers who are mobilizing assistance, Wolf said. Prayers should be offered that God would move through these circumstances so people would experience his love and discover the abundant life he wants them to enjoy.

Whether Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers will be needed remains to be seen until the assessment is complete and a relief strategy has been defined, said Jeff Palmer, BGR’s executive director.

We hope to have someone on ground tomorrow for an initial assessment and contact with Baptist partners there, Palmer said. We have great Baptist partners that we will contact and see how we can initially support them with resources and expertise in the response.

If disaster relief specialists are needed, Baptist Global Response will mobilize teams from the Baptist state conventions on call, Palmer added. We have notified our call-out states to be on standby, Palmer said. Alabama is the first on call for the month of March.

Updates on Baptist Global Response relief efforts can be monitored on

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