Catholics Respond in Hard-Hit Sendai

Despite the post-tsunami chaos, parishioners of Kita Sendai Catholic Church have been busy delivering food aid to victims of the deadly quake and tsunami that struck on March 11. Hiroko Hag, a parishioner, said that because of persistent distribution difficulties in the city “people must stand in line for three hours to buy a slice of bread.” Sendai Catholics are assisting not only the homeless but also the elderly and nursing mothers, for whom the long wait would be too arduous. Violent aftershocks and the continued disruption of gas supplies forced parishioners to cook meals with propane. Food was supplied by a variety of organizations, including Caritas Japan, food banks and ecumenical groups. Raymond Latour, O.P., pastor of Kita Sendai and Haramachi Church in Minamisoma, said those who remained in Minamisoma were forced to stay indoors because of their proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and had only ramen noodles to eat. Japanese police reported on March 24 that the official death toll surpassed 9,800 with 17,500 still missing.

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