Monday update: Japan earthquake, tsunami

Church update on response to Japan earthquake and tsunami:

As the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami continues to unfold, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is assessing how it will best provide relief. News reports indicate that the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is nearing 3,000 and will likely continue to rise. The majority of casualties in Japan are expected to be from the tsunami rather than the earthquake. Tens of thousands more are homeless and millions are without power. The government of Japan has mobilized thousands of troops, planes and ships for a large-scale emergency response operation.

This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an aerial view of debris Sunday, March 13, 2011, from an earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Ships and aircraft from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan.
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an aerial view of debris Sunday, March 13, 2011, from an earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan. The debris was inspected by a helicopter-based search and rescue team from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Ships and aircraft from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan. Credit: Associated Press

Video of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve

Japan Relief

The Church’s First Presidency made the following statement regarding the disaster:

We express our love and support to the people of Japan as they deal with this terrible tragedy. Our prayers, and the prayers of millions of Latter-day Saints across the world, are with them as they begin to recover from this disaster.

Relief Aid

Communication and transportation is difficult in the most affected areas, but local Church leaders are currently discussing with government and humanitarian organizations ways to provide assistance.

Missionaries and Church Members

In a March 13, 2011, photo provided by Navy Visual News Service, an aerial view of tsunami damage in an area north of Sendai, Japan, taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. The Ronald Reagan is off the coast of Japan rendering humanitarian assistance following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami.
In a March 13, 2011, photo provided by Navy Visual News Service, an aerial view of tsunami damage in an area north of Sendai, Japan, taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. The Ronald Reagan is off the coast of Japan rendering humanitarian assistance following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. Credit: Associated Press

The Church reported Saturday morning that all of its missionaries serving in Japan are accounted for and mission leaders are taking precautions to ensure that missionaries remain safe. All missionaries are a safe distance from damaged nuclear plants.

It is likely Church members have been directly impacted by the quake, and local Church leaders are working tirelessly to account for them. Approximately 95% of the Latter-day Saints in the affected areas have been contacted, and initial reports indicate there are no confirmed deaths; however, there is limited information on the status of members from the most devastated areas.

Church Buildings

The Church has received several inquiries regarding the condition of its temple in Tokyo and can confirm that there is no significant damage to the building. While we know that some buildings have sustained varying degrees of damage, Church leaders in the affected areas are assessing the condition of other Church buildings.

From an email to Church News:

This picture was taken Friday night at the Koriyama Fire Station that is serving as an evacuation center. The missionaries were having a zone conference in Koriyama when the earthquake hit. There were 20 missionaries there and many of them were from coastal areas that were devastated by the tsunami. Koriyama is 35 miles inland from the nuclear plant.
This picture was taken Friday night at the Koriyama Fire Station that is serving as an evacuation center. The missionaries were having a zone conference in Koriyama when the earthquake hit. There were 20 missionaries there and many of them were from coastal areas that were devastated by the tsunami. Koriyama is 35 miles inland from the nuclear plant.

Yesterday (Monday) this group (pictured above) was able to help repair a couple roofs of some of the members in the area and are planning to do more of this type of work today in preparation for the rains that are forecast. They were able to finally get a shower Monday and food is scarce. They are still wearing their same clothes from Friday as most of the missionaries are not able to go back to their areas. They are in good spirits and are anxious to help the people there in any way they can.

Quake upgraded to magnitude of 9.0

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has upgraded the magnitude of Friday’s deadly earthquake in Japan to 9.0.

The move Monday comes after Japan’s Meteorological Agency did the same. It’s not unusual for scientists to tweak the magnitude of a giant quake after some number-crunching.

U.S. government scientists originally put the Japan quake at 8.9. The change to 9.0 means that the quake was about 1.5 times stronger than initially thought.

The Japan quake is now the fourth largest in the world since 1900 behind the 2004 magnitude-9.1 Sumatra quake.