The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

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The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help Listen to this article

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
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This morning many of us awoke to news of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that had struck Japan’s northeast coast at 2:46:23 p.m., their local time. Aftershocks, tsunamis, fires, mudslides, flooding and other resulting disasters have been (and are still being) reported nonstop today from locations affected, including our own west coast. When massive disasters occur, I think that people’s first reaction is generally to look at what’s happened, reeling as feelings of shock and awe threaten to overwhelm.

But now that we’ve had a moment to take it all in, and as we receive further reports of property that has been (and is being) destroyed and of the people who have lost their homes, possessions, and in some cases — their loved ones, the next natural reaction becomes,”How can I help?”

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

A few of the charities and organizations which have issued statements specific to this disaster on how you can help include the following:

The Salvation Army:

Currently, those interested in aiding the relief effort are encouraged to give monetary donations. Monetary funds offer great flexibility and enable local disaster responders to purchase exactly what is needed as close to the disaster zone as possible.

The most damaged city is Sendai which is about 400 km away from Tokyo. Still our building swayed tremendously. It was hard for us to keep standing. Many of us were really frightened.

We are sending a team to Sendai tonight and start tomorrow providing the basic necessities as well as assessing the level of damages and what we can do from now on.

Even in Tokyo the whole public transports stopped and many a commuters could not go home. We opened our hall on the ground floor of THQ building to those who could not go home. We were able to serve them with hot drinks and packed meals.

There are five ways people can contribute money to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in Japan:

– Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

– By phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

– On-line at:

– By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA  30301-0959

At this time, The Salvation Army is not accepting in-kind donations from the general public for disaster relief operations in Japan.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

The Red Cross:

Those who want to help can go to and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

People can make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Their donation will go to support relief efforts for the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

The Red Cross has a post on ways to connect with family members in the affected areas. is also working with the Red Cross to help collect funds; they have placed a donation box on their main page, in order to provide “a safe and secure platform where those wishing to help can easily make a financial contribution to the relief efforts.”

Another organization I found is the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund through They aim to “disburse funds to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground.” A donation page has been set up, and they have raised a little bit less than half of their $150,000 goal.

Update 03/16/11: Because of the overwhelming need and the response of donors, the goal has been raised to $2,000,000. They are well on their way to getting it, too!

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

For those of us who live in areas unaffected and those of us without the special skills demanded after disaster strikes, donating money is probably the most effective thing we can do to show our support. While it’s true that donated money will never and could never replace the memories of times spent with loved ones in a now-destroyed home, donated money can go a long way toward making sure that those left homeless will have a warm and dry place to sleep, clothing to wear and hot meals to eat.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

If after watching today’s events you feel compelled to help, I hope that you will make a charity donation to the organization of your choice. If you know of another charity with a specific program for this particular disaster, please list it with a link in the comments.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

Update 03/16/11: Japan has continued to be assaulted by aftershocks, and the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Complex is deteriorating. Here are a few more organizations and charities who are collecting donations for Japan.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of


International Medical Corps, a group of health professionals dedicated to global support and relief, is dispatching response teams and supplies to mitigate the hardship and suffering that still await the people of Japan and other affected areas around the Pacific. A source of humanitarian aid for more than a quarter-century, International Medical Corps has provided vital assistance to struggling communities all over the world, including implementing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in response to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. In cases of disaster, the organization can take measures such as establishing mobile clinics, coordinating hospital activity, and providing medical training to local residents. While estimates vary, the human toll of the disaster in Japan is expected to be extensive, and the services provided by organizations such as International Medical Corps are of critical importance.

Join G-Team and support International Medical Corps’ emergency relief efforts in Japan and any other areas affected by the earthquake. Giving levels of $5, $10, and $25 are available. Every dollar facilitates the organization’s work to aid the earthquake’s victims and limit the extent of its devastation.

  • Expires Jun 16, 2011
  • 100% of your donation will go to International Medical Corps. See G-Team FAQs that apply to this campaign.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of WBEZ91.5 via Getty Images


The site Philanthroper has run several charities since the earthquake and tsunami that are directly related to Japan’s disasaster relief. Today’s is for Stop Hunger Now.

Most days, Stop Hunger Now mobilizes volunteers to ship dehydrated meals to developing countries around the globe, for disaster relief as in Haiti but also just to counter malnourishment on a general level. Following the earthquake and tsunami, they’re turning their focus to Japan.

Giving $1 today will provide four meals going to Japan.

By coordinating with groups on the ground and thousands of volunteers domestically to pack meals, Stop Hunger Now plans to send hundreds of thousands, possibly over a million, non-perishable meals to Japan, along with other aid as requested.

“With the money we raise for Japan we will ship meals, provide cash grants or potentially identify gift in-kind opportunities (medical supplies, etc) as each opportunity works out,” explains Director of Development Chessney Barrick.

A group of just 40-50 volunteers can pack 10,000 meals in two hours. These dehydrated meals cost a mere quarter apiece, consisting of protein-rich rice/soy meal fortified with 21 essential vitamins and nutrients. A steak dinner it is not, but these meals are nutritious, easy to transport and have a shelf life of 5 years.

We actually offered that Stop Hunger Now could label your $1 donations as unrestricted (i.e., not tied to Japan), but they responded that they wanted funds earmarked for efforts in the country. To us, that’s an excellent sign that they’re committed to sending relief, even if the details are still in development.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help

Philanthroper’s donation “deals” are for a max donation of $1, but you can also directly donate to Stop Hunger Now or to two of the other charities features previously on Philanthroper – Direct Relief International and ShelterBoxUSA.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of

ShelterBoxUSA delivers “disaster kits that are filled with the kinds of necessities you want around when worst comes to worst. These are compact boxes – just 33″ x 24″ x 22″ – that are stuffed with over 100 pounds in equipment. The exact contents can vary by need and region, but a Shelterbox always starts with shelter and extends from there.”

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of ABCNews

Direct Relief International is a large but highly efficient organization. 100% of their administrative and fundraising costs have been covered by a recent bequest, so all donations go directly to programs (an extreme rarity). Furthermore, as we mentioned earlier, $1 given to them can purchase $30 in wholesale medical supplies, which is absolutely incredible.

The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How You Can Help
photo courtesy of

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.