In Sendai, tsunami kills Canadian missionary from Québec

Tokyo, Japan – Fr André Lachapelle, a priest with the Québec Foreign Missions Society in the diocese of Sendai, died when he was swept away by the tsunami, Fr Davide Uribe, a member of the Missions of Guadalupe, told AsiaNews. Fr Lachapelle, 77, was based in Shiogama, a coastal town in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas hardest hit by the seaquake.

Various members of the Foreign Missions Society of Mexico (aka Guadalupe Missionaries) work in the diocese of Sendai. Contact with them was re-established only yesterday, Fr Uribe said.

The clergyman noted that many local priests would like to help in the rescue operations but access to the affected areas has been restricted to soldiers and civil defence volunteers.

The Japanese Catholic Church and the diocese of Sendai are nevertheless raising funds to give out as soon as restrictions are lifted.

The official death toll now stands at 1,834 but more than 15,500 people are reported still missing.