Skype interview with World Vision relief worker in Japan

Emergency communications officer with World Vision U.S. Casey Calamusa was deployed to Japan 38 hours after the massive 8.9-magnitude quake on Friday, March 11. I chatted with Casey on Skype last night. Thanks to those of you who tweeted in questions. Here's what he had to say:

Lindsey Talerico: 19:06:35- What did you notice when you first arrived in Tokyo?

Casey Calamusa: 19:09:13- Tokyo was not affected too badly by the quake. But the disaster is obviously on everybody's mind. There's also been news that a 7.0 aftershock is expected in the next few days, so that is keeping everyone on their toes.

Lindsey Talerico: 19:10:45- Knowing that an aftershock that huge is a possibility, how are the people of Japan coping with the disaster?

Casey Calamusa: 19:23:17- People certainly don't seem hopeless; they are resilient and are determined to move forward. The World Vision staff, specifically, have tremendous faith and it's encouraging to see them respond with such passion.

Lindsey Talerico: 19:28:24- In terms of relief response with a disaster of this magnitude, where do we even start?

Casey Calamusa: 19:35:07- It starts with an assessment team currently in Sendai--the hardest hit area. The team brought an initial supply of baby items to distribute, and will be talking with families to find out what their greatest needs are. Next, WV will have a much clearer picture of how to move forward. Back at the office, World Vision Japan is closely coordinating with other relief organizations and working with government and local authorities to see what gaps we can fill.

The Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs manager here in Japan is a veteran of disaster response, having served in Haiti last year, in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis, in Pakistan after the earthquake in '05, and in Asia after the massive tsunami in '04. The difference now is he is responding to a disaster in his home country.

Lindsey Talerico: 19:50:22- How does this disaster compare or contrast to last year's quake in Haiti? Many have also compared this disaster to Hurricane Katrina. Are these fair comparisons?

Casey Calamusa: 19:56:59- Every disaster is different, which is part of what makes disaster response so difficult. In this case, Japan is a country that experiences a lot of earthquakes, has strict building codes and a strong ability to respond to these kinds of disasters. Haiti did not have any of those things. A more accurate comparison would be the Chile quake in February 2010, which was an 8.8, but because of strict building codes and a quick response by the government of Chile, there was much less loss of life.

Lindsey Talerico: 20:05:32- This question just came from a tweet: How are churches in Japan involved in the relief response?

Casey Calamusa: 20:09:46- I just talked to a WV Japan staffer about this. World Vision partners with local churches, and they appeal to their congregations to provide support for relief efforts. As well, our relief team in Sendai right now is staying at a church that we partner with.

On a personal note, I went to daily devotions with WV Japan earlier this morning. Every day the staff here gather and sing songs and spend time in prayer. It was very moving to see the whole office come together despite this time of tragedy. Many were crying, but their prayers were powerful.

Lindsey Talerico: 20:17:01- On that note, how can we be praying for those in Japan, and for aid workers working to reach those affected?

Casey Calamusa: 20:22:35- Be praying that the people who have been affected do not lose hope. Pray for a quick recovery, and especially for children, who are left to vulnerability during a time like this. Pray that aid will reach the hardest-hit areas quickly and will help the people on their path to recovery.

Lindsey Talerico: 21:26:27- Thanks, Casey. Our prayers and support are with you, the many World Vision staff and aid workers in Japan right now, and the many more who are affected. Looking forward to talking with you again soon.

For updates on World Vision's relief response in Japan: Japan quake and tsunami updates + video

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Read more from Casey on the MTV Act blog: Standing by Japan

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    How do we get US citizen that were living in Japan back to the US?

    Am so touched by the number of people directly and inderectly affected by the quake. I just find it hard to believe. Loved to see that despite all this disaster staff joined and prayed, hepofully things will get better.
    God Bless Japan and the world

    I'm so sad for Japan.I want to go to Japan so bad but now I don't I just want to help them.I think Japan is awesome,but I don't like all the earthquakes and tsunamis.It touched me after seeing what happened and I am going to pray for the world to get better and all the disasters that are happening everywhere.God bless the United States and all the other continents.

    Like most individuals, I still haven’t been able to comprehend the staggering toll from Japan’s worst disaster since World War II.
    In every media story, I keep emphasizing: We dare not think the worst is over.
    I almost was killed in the aftermath of the tsunami triggered by the 20th century's second largest earthquake (Alaska, March 1964).
    Long after the news media stop reporting the growing numbers of deaths, untold numbers of men, women, youth and children will continue to die.
    1. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in Japan. Countless believers have lost loved ones and friends. May they experience God’s comfort, solace, encouragement, strength, joy, and peace in this difficult season of grief.
    2. Let’s intercede for the tens of thousands of relief workers and volunteer relief workers on the scene in the hardest-hit areas. May they sense God at work in their midst in the days and weeks ahead. Ask the Lord to draw many individuals to Himself.
    3. Let’s contribute to the ongoing disaster relief efforts. If every committed Christian in the U.S. gave $30, we could provide $1 billion in direct emergency aid this spring.
    In this terrible season of grief, we can help save lives. So, let’s do all we can.

    i would like to get a sponsor who will help me in my studies

    What Japan Needs at the Nuclear Reactor(s) Site is a Rad-Shielded Crane!

    All that's needed to drop the tons of water needed and help repair the damaged reactors is a regular tracked-drive construction crane with its crew-cab shielded from radiation with alternating slabs of Polyethylene and sheets of lead bolted to the cab of the crane. Inside the crane, you mount a couple of HDTVs as monitors, wired to HDTV Cameras mounted outside so the operator can see what he's doing. Provide him with commercial Scuba gear for a couple hours' worth of clean air, and put that orange airdrop water-bucket on the end of the crane's cable, and you've got means of dropping plenty of water on the reactors. The crane retrofit would take 4 hour's labor to make.

    How our staff may join relief activities in Japan?

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