(This release was updated on 29 March 2011) Humanitarian aid from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is getting to the Japanese people suffering from the effects of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, powerful tsunami and lingering threats of radiation.
The Church has provided more than 135,000 pounds of food, water and supplies, 10,000 liters of fuel and 15,000 blankets and is working with the local prefectural governments to coordinate their distribution.
These items are being purchased in Japan and shipped to Sendai and surrounding areas where they are most needed. The blankets have been purchased in China and are now being distributed in Japan.
Local Church leaders have created an emergency response committee, which is meeting daily to identify and respond to member and community needs and to organize volunteer efforts.
Over 40,000 hours of service have been donated by more than 4,000 Mormon volunteers. Hundreds of congregations in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka have established plans to assemble hygiene and cleaning kits, with this effort likely to continue over the next few weeks. Members are also delivering aid by scooters provided by the Church to areas too difficult to reach by car. In addition, the Church has made a substantial financial donation to the Japan Red Cross.
The disaster has now claimed more than 11,000 lives. More than 17,000 people are still missing and 143,000 buildings are damaged or destroyed. Damage is estimated to exceed $300 billion, making this the most expensive disaster in world history.
Many people have asked the Church how they might assist or make donations to the Church’s relief efforts. Church members or others who wish to donate may do so through the Humanitarian Aid Fund.
Church officials will continue to monitor events and identify how to best help the people of Japan in the coming weeks.
The Church appreciates those who have expressed a desire to help, but the high volume of calls and emails to the area offices in Japan and to headquarters emergency response personnel to offer additional assistance is hindering their ability to respond to the crisis.