As Japan continues to suffer through the aftermath of the earthquake almost one week ago, we continue to search for ways to help the ravaged areas that were hurt most. Omri Maor, a member of the OneLove team from our second trip to Haiti, hoped to reach some more people and ask for help for the Japanese. Here is what he had to say:
Just a few days ago, Japan experienced a 9.0-magnitude earthquake—the most powerful in its known history, and the fifth most powerful globally. The offshore earthquake’s epicenter was closest to the Japanese city of Sendai, about 200 miles north of Tokyo. The earthquake caused a devastating tsunami that has claimed more than 4,300 lives, while at least 8,600 people are still missing.
Although it at first seemed that Japan, possibly the most earthquake-ready country in the world, and one of the most advanced and well-organized, would not need much help with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, it quickly became apparent that it is not so. 4.4 million houses have no electricity, and 1.5 million do not have water. Three nuclear reactors suffered explosions, flames consumed oil refineries and factories, hundreds of thousands are living in temporary shelters, and Japan faces a nuclear crisis worse than Three Mile Island due to the earthquake, which was more powerful than scientists predicted even in a worst-case scenario for the Japanese.
While Tokyo emerged relatively scratch-free (“only” facing food and energy shortages and a nuclear radiation scare), some cities are absolutely devastated. Minamisanriku reported over half of its population missing. In Sendai, an Australian professor said that all of his friends have no water, no electricity, or both. Entire cities have been washed away, and the rebuilding process will be costly and difficult.
How to help?
Although Japan is clearly better equipped to deal with a tsunami than Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries were in 2004, if not by virtue of economic power alone, it is still facing a tragedy that is beyond its power to deal with. Many aid organizations need financial help first and foremost in their urgent missions to help, as it allows them the flexibility needed to most efficiently help.
There are some high-tech ways to donate. To name a couple, Apple’s iTunes music store is allowing customers to donate to the American Red Cross with a simple click, and Zynga, creator of Farmville and other social networking games, is doing the same for Save the Children’s Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami Children Emergency Fund.
There are many opportunities for mobile giving. Two major organizations, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, are taking donations by text message: to donate to the Salvation Army, text 'Japan' or 'Quake' to 80888, and to donate to the Red Cross, text 'RedCross' to 90999.
For bloggers, a simple line of code can add a floating bar to the top of your blog, prompting readers to help. Check out hellobar.com for how to copy the code text to your blog.
For more information on how to help, check out the many news sites such as the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0315/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-How-to-help) and The Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/2011/03/15/us_officials_counsel_caution_when_donating_money_to_japan_relief_efforts/) for consolidated lists of ways to help Japan.
The horrors of the recent earthquake in Haiti is still fresh in our minds, and now our ability to provide help has improved. Hopefully we can each find our own way to help Japan. And whether you are religious or not, do not forget to pray for the Japanese.