After a devastating earthquake hit Japan in the predawn hours on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 40 members of the Church have not been accounted for, according to Elder David E. Sorensen of the Seventy and president of the Asia North Area. The quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. As of Jan. 19, 4,000 people were reported killed and more than 21,000 injured.
All missionaries in the Kobe-Osaka region of Japan were reported safe, Elder Sorensen informed Church headquarters.Elder Sorensen also reported that six homes of members were destroyed and a hill behind a meetinghouse in the Kobe Japan Stake was in danger of sliding.
The Kobe Ward meetinghouse is being used as an emergency shelter and temporary mortuary. The Japan Kobe Mission Home has been used to feed residents of the community, said Elder Sorensen. He has authorized funds to meet the needs of members and missionaries. Food and other supplies including water, water containers, blankets and portable heaters will be purchased locally.
Missionaries will assist in the distribution of supplies to members, said Elder Sorensen. Neighboring stake presidents have been invited to organize labor crews to assist relief efforts.