|Fr. Pier Giorgio Manni, superior of the
Xaverian Missionaries in Japan.
The Xaverian Missionaries have worked in Japan since 1949. Ever since we have worked in about 24 centers, giving witness, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to non-Christians, providing dialogue and charity. Our area of activity is quite extensive indeed. Some teach in Universities, while others are involved in schools for children; some assist the sick and lepers, while others direct parishes. Some are engaged in dialogue with Buddhists, while others are respected for their artistic contribution.
The superior of the Xaverian Missionaries in Japan, Fr. Pier Giorgio Manni, writes:
“It is impossible to describe all the tragedy and make a specific point on the situation. Not even the experts can give a full picture.
The affected area is in the northern part of the Japan, in particular the Pacific coast, which stretches over 500 km from Tokyo to Hokkaido island. The earthquake was terrible, but most of the damage was caused by tidal waves or tsunamis.
The shocking images and the sad news received from various TV stations are a cry of pain and fear of many who live in those areas.
The latest figures for human lives to date are as follows:
1. confirmed dead: 4.851, but the figures are not complete
2. missing, over 15,000 (number of persons for whom there are records, probably disappeared into the sea with houses sucked by the waves)
3. IDPs collected in emergency shelters, at least 523.288
The discomfort caused by the lack of communications, water, electricity and gas, lack of blankets and food (it is very difficult to reach places affected because of missing or broken roads) as well as enormous damage to fisheries, agriculture and industries, has added the danger and terror caused by serious damage to nuclear power.
It is too early to give an accurate record, and most likely the news all over the world will tell you more than I can do the tragedy of the situation.
Fortunately, emergency aid and government help seems to be efficient and the cooperation of the population is worthy of praise.
The Xaverian Missionaries are not present in those areas. There are reasons for concern for our health and our work. Unfortunately we can not give precise information about churches, groups, or religious missionaries operating in that territory.
As missionaries we share the suffering of the people and also ask your prayer.”