Christian Charity Launches $2.6 Million Appeal for Japan

A $2.6 million appeal to assist with relief efforts in Japan was launched on Wednesday by humanitarian group Church World Service (CWS).

The funds are being requested to help provide relief for at least 250,000 individuals spread across 100 evacuation sites in northeastern Japan. The total number of evacuees in the country is currently 460,000, and daily nourishment, electricity, and sanitation equipment and facilities are reported to be lacking.

CWS says that blankets and stoves are especially critical as the night time temperature in some of the camps can drop as low as -1 degree Celsius.

"The situation in Japan is getting worse and worse," said Takeshi Komino, Head of Emergencies for CWS in the Asia/Pacific region, who has asked his partners to provide "all the support" they are able to give.

"It may be a long road ahead for rehabilitation but we would truly value people's help in giving whatever they can to support this appeal," he said.

Following the CWS appeal, the ACT Alliance, of whom CWS is a member, pledged to offer staffing and logistical support to aid in the relief effort.

"ACT is preparing a range of initiatives in order to help meet gaps in emergency provision, ensuring that we do our utmost to help Japanese people in this time of terrible crisis for the whole country," said John Nduna, general secretary of the group, which operates in some 125 countries.

Other ACT members that are participating in the relief effort include the Lutheran World Federation and Norwegian Church Aid.

Miles of debris are now the scene in several Japanese prefectures after last Friday's 8.9 earthquake and tsunami, which was the worst to hit the country in nearly a century.

The death toll as of Wednesday was reported at 11,521, although some expect the toll to rise beyond 10,000.

The Japanese government has described the destruction and crisis as the "worst since World War II."

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