Once again, social media has proven itself beneficial in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan on Friday, March 11, we had received no word from The Salvation Army. It wasn’t until a day later that we were able to find several officers on Facebook and make contact. The Territorial Commander in Japan was able to tell us that relief teams were preparing to head to Sendai, where one of many corps in Japan is located. He was appreciative of the all prayers and thoughts being shared by all of us here in the U.S. and worldwide. Since then, he’s been able to give a glimpse into what daily life is like in the wake of multiple blows to his country, as well as sharing other reported information from news agencies in Japan.

Also, from Captain Christopher Marques, an American Salvation Army officer, from the Midwest, who is assigned to the Tokyo Headquarters, had this to say about his experience since the quake: “I actually rode the caravan back home after (the quake,) but, due to the massive amount of bicycles and pedestrians wandering home since the subways/trains were shut down, the normal 30-45 minute trip took over 8 hours by car! Wednesday was the 1st quake, and we had well over 16 aftershocks following the 2nd quake on Friday. Now the scientists think there could be a 3rd one within the next 3 days. We already felt another aftershock this morning here at THQ (it shook the building for a bit, but not as bad as the intense shaking we felt on Friday).”

We will continue to accept your prayer requests for family/friends affected by the events in Japan. You may leave your requests or share your prayers for Japan in the comment section below.

Here is the latest news on our disaster relief efforts in Japan from our National Headquarters here in the U.S.:

The Salvation Army in Japan has three emergency service relief teams working in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. One of the teams is assisting people who have been evacuated from areas threatened by the damage of nuclear power plants.

In our original blog post on the disaster, we mentioned a Salvation Army assessment team was sent to Tokyo to Sendai (the city nearest the center of the earthquake). While this trip usually takes 6 hours, it took the team 20 hours to reach their destination.

Emergency service personnel from The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) in London will also soon head over to Japan to join in the relief effort.

Overall, there is much damage to the country. Road and rail systems have been severely affected. Gasoline supplies are low, with many gas stations closed and lines up to three kilometers long at stations that are open.

The disaster has affected a 2,000 kilometer north-south stretch of Japan. Official reports now state that more than 10,000 people are dead or missing.

At this time there are no reports of any loss of Salvation Army personnel or damage to our buildings.

Many Salvation Army territories are offering financial and prayer support for our relief effort in Japan. The Salvation Army in South Korea has set aside the next four weeks specifically for prayer and fundraising for Japan.

If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s Japan relief efforts, you can do so in the following ways:

  • Donate online at www.salvationarmyindiana.org
  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. (Please ensure that you respond “YES” to the Thank You message you receive.)
  • By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to

The Salvation Army Indiana Division
3100 North Meridian Street

Indianapolis, IN  46208

Donation Update (Morning of 3/14/2011)
Text-to-Give: $69,000
Online: $911,000
TOTAL: $980,000

* 100% of donations designated to disaster relief work in Japan goes towards those efforts.