The 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a 3-storey tsunami that swept away entire towns and cities, was the most devastating natural disaster in the country’s history.
In its wake, 20,000 died, 590,000 were left homeless and 4.4 million homes were without power. Tens of thousands of residents evacuated from a 30-mile radius of the damaged Fukushima power plant.
Japanese Volunteer Ministers deployed immediately, assisting victims and rescue workers in the stricken region, directing survivors to shelters and providing any available food, water and medical supplies.
Trained and experienced Scientology Volunteer Ministers and rescue specialists arrived from around the world, joining forces with their Japanese counterparts to provide relief throughout the region. Among those were 17 members of the Mexican “Los Topos” team, highly skilled Volunteer Minister-trained search and rescue specialists. Volunteer Minister teams also came from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, Britain and the United States. Coordinating their actions with disaster response authorities and other volunteer organisations, they established and staffed shelters, collected needed goods, drove supply trucks from Tokyo and set up emergency supplies distribution lines.
In a city where elderly residents were stranded in their homes by flood waters and impassable roads, Volunteer Ministers organised a fleet of bicycles loaded with supplies to bring vital provisions.
Volunteer Ministers also gave spiritual aid in the form of Assists to tens of thousands, relieving them of the physical and emotional distress brought about by the earthquake and tsunami.
Concurrently, they trained 1,500 volunteers from other relief organisations, community groups and schools in Volunteer Minister techniques.
“I would like to sincerely thank you for your warm support of our city that is currently facing a tough situation. This was a big encouragement for the citizens and the staff of the City Hall.” —Letter to Volunteer Ministers from the mayor of Soma City, Japan