U.S. Relief Agency Rebuilding Japanese Communities One Year After Twin Disasters

Samaritan’s Purse restores homes; distributes relief supplies to disaster victims in Japan

Just one year ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled Japanese communities and devastated families. Samaritan's Purse, the international Christian relief organization led by Franklin Graham, immediately sent emergency supplies, staff and volunteers to meet crisis needs—and their effort to help the Japanese people continues today.

"The Japanese people have experienced so much physical and emotional pain from these disasters that took so much from them," said Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse. "However, in the midst of that loss, we’re thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to help provide a new beginning for many suffering people."

Shortly after the tsunami hit Japan’s northeastern coast, Graham was on the ground with Samaritan's Purse staff to coordinate the organization's relief efforts, which included an airlift of more than 90 tons of critical supplies for disaster victims. Since the initial response, Samaritan's Purse has enlisted more than 4,400 volunteers and provided millions of dollars in materials and other support to help survivors rebuild their lives.

This work includes:

  • Cleaning up and the rebuilding 540 homes damaged or destroyed by the disasters.

  • Distributing more than 4,000 home kits with items such as towels, blankets, kitchenware, food and heaters.

  • Giving bicycles to help with transportation needs in disaster zones.

  • Distributing rubber boots, gloves and other clothing items to help people clean their homes, churches and businesses.

  • Providing financial support to local church partners within hours of the disaster so that they could begin buying and distributing supplies including blankets, hygiene items, food and water.

  • Establishing bases of operation in Tome, Sumita and Shichigahama to house and support volunteers from Japan and around the world.

Samaritan's Purse relief work has primarily focused on the hard-hit Sendai area, where local pastors asked Graham to bring the Gospel message to the city. He will be leading the Celebration of Hope from March 2-4 in the Grande 21 Sekusui Heimu Super Arena, the same place used as a makeshift morgue for thousands of people who died in the disaster.

"We have been invited to Sendai to share a message of encouragement and everyone is welcome," said Graham, "Our prayer is that anyone who is struggling with questions about life or anyone who is looking for a new beginning will join us for this Celebration of Hope."

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: (B-roll and photos of Japan relief work are available.)

  • Interview Ken Isaacs, vice president of Samaritan's Purse in person in Japan, March 10-11 (or via satellite or phone).

  • Speak with disaster victims who have been helped by Samaritan's Purse, like Shiroko and Kaoru Chiba, who lost seven family members and their home.

  • Travel to Japan to see the impact of the organization's relief work.

Samaritan's Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization, based in Boone, North Carolina, that responds to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations—especially in locations where few others are working. Samaritan's Purse has worked in more than 100 countries to provide aid in the Name of Jesus Christ to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.