Chabad’s emissaries in Japan are continuing to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in the Sendai region.
The representatives have been busy distributing food items to those who have remained homeless following the strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami which hit northern Japan on March 11.
Rabbanit Efrat Edery, wife of Rabbi Binyamin Edery, who is the rabbi of Chabad Tokyo and the Chabad movement’s representative in the region, told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website on Thursday that the representatives received a very warm welcome by the Japanese locals.
“We are trying very hard to make the most out of this difficult situation and we are collecting as much food as possible to bring to those who survived the tragedy,” she said. “When the local governor of Sendai heard that Rabbi Binyamin arrived with truckloads of food, he and his people went out to meet him and bowed down to him.”
Rabbnit Edery said that the locals are finding it very difficult to believe that the food is being distributed for free.
“People stand in line to get the food and they can’t believe it is free. One woman wanted to pay us and when we told her it was free she began to cry.”
She added that “We are constantly raising funds for food distribution in Tokyo. One person may give one dollar and another one gives a thousand dollars.”
Rabbnit Edery also spoke of Chabad Tokyo’s new initiative to bring hot food to the homeless in Sendai. “It is very cold there and we’ve rented trucks with coal stoves. Rabbi Binyamin bought six hundred kilograms of sweet potatoes. We grilled them on the ovens and then we distributed the hot sweet potatoes to the local residents. It was very exciting to see people standing in line to receive the warm food.”
The worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee were deeply involved from the very first moment in the Jewish community's response to the natural disaster in Japan.
Chabad-Lubavitch of Asia, under director Rabbi Mordechai Avtzon in Hong Kong, has organized shipments of tons of basic supplies for the people of Sendai, including rice, water, bread, gas canisters, instant soups and blankets.
The IDF is also assisting in the relief efforts in Japan, having sent a medical team which set up an emergency clinic in the areas stricken by the disaster. This week, the medical team treated a sick 11-month baby girl who lost her home in the disaster. The girl was brought on Wednesday by her grandmother to the IDF clinic and was treated for an eye infection by the clinic's doctors.