Witnesses continue relief work in Japan
NEW YORK—In the two weeks since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been working hard to provide assistance to their fellow believers and other victims in the affected areas. News reports on March 25, 2011, indicate that the latest death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has surpassed 10,000, with nearly 17,500 others listed as missing.
Emerging details are helping the Witnesses and others performing relief work to get a clearer picture of what is needed to help the victims. The Witnesses’ branch office in Japan established contact with local congregations to assist them in obtaining information on the 115 Witnesses who were reported missing as of March 15; that number has now been reduced to 16. While initial reports indicated that five places of worship used by the Witnesses, called Kingdom Halls, were destroyed, the branch office has now confirmed that three Kingdom Halls were destroyed and another three Kingdom Halls were damaged extensively or flooded. Sadly, the branch office also confirmed that the death toll among the Witnesses has risen to four.
One of the teams of Witnesses providing relief to the disaster victims reported that 11 truckloads of supplies were sent to one affected area during the first few days. Despite the many challenges faced by the victims, congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the areas devastated by the tsunami have continued to hold worship services, providing spiritual comfort and encouragement to both the Witnesses themselves and their non-Witness neighbors in the area.
Jehovah’s Witnesses continue coordinating their international relief efforts from their world headquarters in Brooklyn. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work. There are over 218,000 Witnesses in Japan.
J. R. Brown, telephone: +1 718 560 5600