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Opinion International relief efforts emerge in wake of Japan disaster

Relief organizations across the globe are working to offer aid to the country of Japan, which was devastated by an 8.9 earthquake on March 11. The quake spawned a tsunami that slammed into the nation’s east coast, leaving a path of devastation in its wake.

Nuclear catastrophe currently threatens the island nation, as a result of the quake and tsunami. President Barack Obama has released a a statement sending his “deepest condolences” and promising support the the stricken country.

Japan has often donated when other countries have experienced disasters, such as when Hurricane Katrina impacted the United States. The response of disaster relief efforts have been slower around the world than when Haiti was devastated by its earthquake. Below are organizations that are working on relief and recovery in the region. Those interested in contributing to Japan’s relief efforts can refer to the list below.


• AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region. Visit www.redcross.org, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.



• GLOBALGIVING: Established a fund to disburse donations to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The organization is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to provide support. Partners on the ground are working hard to provide immediate relief. The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at www.globalgiving.org to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake. It has already raised more than $100,000, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world.

• SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army has been in Japan since 1895 and is providing emergency assistance to those in need. Salvation Army personnel are organizing efforts in Tokyo and will soon send a team to help the severely damaged city of Sendai, Japan. To contribute to earthquake relief, text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit salvationarmyusa. org.

• AMERICARES: An emergency team is on full alert, mobilizing resources and dispatching an emergency response manager to the region. Visit Americares.org to donate.

• CONVOY OF HOPE: Disaster Response team established connection with in-country partners who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance. Visit convoyofhope.org to donate.

• INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS: Relief teams are responding to the health needs of the disaster’s victims. The organization is putting together supplies, and is in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate activities. “We are putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities,” said Nancy Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corps. To donate or learn about other ways you can contribute to its medical response, visit www.internationalmedicalcorps.org. Or text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.

• DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): The organization is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. To learn more about the organization’s efforts or make a donation, visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

• MERCYCORPS: is gathering donations for its overseas partner, Peace Winds Japan, which currently has personnel on the ground distributing emergency relief in Japan. Along with an appeal for monetary donations, Operation USA has also announced efforts to collect bulk corporate donations of health care supplies. To donate bulk medical items, visit www.opusa.org.

• GOOGLE: For any who have loved ones abroad, Google has stepped up to help. Along with a tsunami alert posted on its front page, Google has launched the Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake to help connect people that may have been displaced due to the disaster. Google has also launched a crisis response page filled with local resources and emergency information.

• SAMARITAN’S PURSE: A Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief team is in the hard-hit city of Sendai delivering relief supplies to survivors. Much of northern Japan is experiencing shortages of food, water, fuel, and other necessities. Samaritan’s Purse has deployed another team to Osaka to set up a logistical hub to facilitate and expedite the purchase and transport of more relief supplies. To donate, visit samaritanspurse.org.

• WORLD VISION: The organization has announced global mobilization in response to tsunami warnings. Geoff Shepherd, the organization’s humanitarian and emergency affairs director for the Asia-Pacific region, released a statement on World Vision’s website. “We’ve also alerted our Global Rapid Response Team and have put team members on standby for possible deployment to affected areas. This could be a very serious disaster in multiple countries and our staff are prepared to respond.”


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