Published On: Wed, Mar 23rd, 2011

Ravenscroft witness to Japanese tragedy

COLERIDGE —  Despite recent weather and man-made disasters in Japan, a former Cedar County resident is alive and well in Japan.
Coleridge High School graduate Amy Ravenscroft makes her home in Japan these days. She said she is safe, even though thousands have been reported missing or dead since an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan and was followed by a ferocious tsunami. Japanase residents are also experiencing a nuclear crisis, as a result of the earthquake.

Ravenscroft makes her home in the city of Hatsukaichi which is just west of Hiroshima.
“The quake was not felt in this area and no tsunami is possible here because we are on the Inland Sea,” Ravenscroft said. “That means we are protected from the Ocean by Shikoku, the larger island south of the main island of Japan.”
Ravenscroft is 530 miles west, as the crow flies, from the reactors in question.
Ravenscroft said she does not know if people are over-reacting to the nuclear crisis that has risen since the earthquake but she knows the situation is being constantly monitored.
“Just this evening the damage level was raised to that of the Three Mile Island accident in the U.S., which many of you may remember,” Ravenscroft said in an email on Fri., March 18. “I believe they are doing all they can to contain the nuclear radiation. Please pray for the success of their efforts.”
Food and water are plentiful at Ravenscroft’s location but a number of people are buying up extra supplies to send to loved ones in Tokyo where supplies are scarce.
People in Tokyo are also buying up more than they need to prepare for a possible large earthquake according to Ravenscroft.
Ravenscroft is familiar with the area as she has lived in Tokyo for a total of two and one-half years.
“Quakes are very common but usually just a gentle rocking. Now some of the after shocks have been quite big and are a constant reminder of how unstable the land is – that is not very comforting,” Ravenscroft said. “Every seventy years plus or minus thirteen – Tokyo has had a major earthquake. More than eighty-three years have passed since the last one in 1923.”
The quake in Kobe in 1995, which Ravenscroft did experience, and this quake north of Tokyo have caused anxiety for the residents in Tokyo.
The after shocks are continuing regularly – some people are choosing to evacuate.
“The U.S. government here has prepared planes to take U.S. citizens to other nearby countries, if they choose to evacuate. The flights are not free but the tickets don’t have to be paid for in advance,” Ravenscroft said. “One has no choice as to destination and the U.S. is not one of the destinations.”
Ravenscroft has a friend in Chiba who she has not heard from since the tragedy happened but she is hopeful that she is alive.
“She is a nurse so perhaps she is just too busy to respond to email,” she said.
Ravenscroft has had emails from people who were not in the Sendai  themselves, but have heard from those who were there.
Some lost homes and businesses in the tsunami but they are alive.
One neighbor’s daughter and her family were living in their car which includes two adults, two young girls and a dog and a cat.
Ravenscroft’s neighbor is looking for her daughter and granddaughters to arrive from Sendai when they can make it – their apartment building was damaged in the quake but the tsunami did not reach them.
Another friend had told Ravenscroft his daughter and grandchildren had already arrived at his home.
Ravenscroft has lived in Japan for close to thirty years.
She is the daughter of Myron and Amy Ravenscroft (now deceased) and has made several trips back to Cedar County and has shared her experiences of living in Japan with a variety of churches and organizations.
She first arrived in Japan in Sept, 1980 and is working with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM).
Team missionaries were not in the tsunami area but the ones in Tokyo are feeling the effects of planned rolling black-outs in order to save electricity and due to the scarcity of gasoline.
According to Ravenscroft, TEAM does have an account for earthquake relief for Japan and one-hundred percent of the funds that are donated will be sent to Japan.
Organizations such as CRASH are taking teams of volunteers and relief goods into the needy areas right now.
Ravenscroft said she would like to go and help herself but right now the transportation cost for her to get there would be money better spent by personnel that are closer to the disaster.
Ravenscroft is praying for the land she calls home and the people she has come to love.
On March, 17, Ravenscroft read scripture in Ezekiel that stands out to her during this time.
Ezekiel 18:32 – “The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone, but urges everyone to repent and live.”
She is asking for others to also pray for the Japanese people.