A 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan north of Tokyo on March 11. It resulted in a devastating tsunami which caused significant damage in coastal towns. There are reports of hundreds of possible injuries and fatalities. The death toll is expected to rise.
As a result of the earthquake, a tsunami alert was issued for New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, the U.S. West Coast and other areas.
Charities are beginning to mount an emergency response and donations are needed to help provide relief to those in need. If you wish to help, then please consider supporting one of the charities listed to the right.
And before you give, please consult our giving tips listed below.
- Avoid Newly-Formed Charities and Give To An Established Charity That Has Worked In Japan - Establishing a new charity is hard enough, but in a crisis, the odds of succeeding are slim to none. Think of it this way: would you entrust all your savings in a financial firm that just opened, doesn’t even have stationery, and whose employees have no experience in investing money? Doubtful. Find a charity with a proven track record of success in providing disaster relief on a massive scale and one that has worked in Japan and the other impacted regions. Start with the list of charities on the right and if a group you are considering supporting isn’t there, then take the time to thoroughly research it before making a gift.
- Designate Your Investment – Generally, it is best to trust your chosen charity to spend your donation as it sees fit. But with disaster related giving, you should specify that you want your donation only used to respond to this particular crisis.
- Do Not Send Supplies – Knowing that people are desperately in need of food and water, it is hard not to want to pack up a box of supplies and send it to Japan. But this type of philanthropy is simply not practical or efficient. Even if mail could get to an impacted region, no one is set up to receive these goods, much less organize and distribute them to the victims. Furthermore, charities are often able to partner with companies to acquire large amounts of in-kind donations such as bottled water and new clothing. Instead of boxing up and sending your old clothing, have a garage sale and turn your used goods into cash and donate that to a worthy charity.
- Be Careful Of Email Solicitations
- Be Leery Of People That Contact You Online Claiming To Be A Victim – Unless you personally know someone in Japan, anyone alleging to be in this position is most likely part of a scam. Obviously, people affected by the earthquake and tsunami are in no position to contact you directly for assistance.
- Delete Unsolicited Emails With Attachments - Never respond to unsolicited emails. Do not open any attachments to these emails even if they claim to contain pictures from Japan. These attachments are probably viruses.
- Seek Out The Charity’s Authorized Website – Criminals are likely to set up bogus sites to steal the identity and money of generous and unsuspecting individuals. We saw this after Hurricane Katrina when the FBI reported that 4,000 sites were created to do just that. So, if you plan to give online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate site. You can safely give on Charity Navigator’s site via our partnership with Network for Good. Alternatively, we link to each charity’s authorized site so you can give there if you prefer.
- Think before you text - So long as you do your homework – meaning that you’ve vetted the charity and made sure that you are using the proper texting instructions- then texting can be a great way to give. Remember there may be additional costs to you to make such a gift. And it can take as much as 90 days for the charity to receive the funds.
- Consider The Nature Of The Charity’s Work – Not every charity is responding in the same way. Some are providing medical assistance, some shelter, some food and water. Others will be more focused on either short term or long term rebuilding efforts. And some are just helping to fundraise for other nonprofits. Think about what it is you want your philanthropic investment to accomplish and then take the time to find the charities doing that work. At Charity Navigator we link to each charity’s website so that you can quickly learn more about their plans to help.
- Be Inspired By Social Media, But Still Do Your Homework – Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs are delivering heart-wrenching images and information about the earthquake and tsunami to our computers and phones. Many of them include pleas to donate. While these tools can be a powerful tool to inspire your desire to help, you should not blindly give via these vehicles. You must take the time to investigate the groups behind such pleas for help to ensure that it comes from a legitimate nonprofit.
- Avoid Telemarketers – As always, hang up the phone do your homework and give directly to a charity.
- Do Not Expect Immediate Results, But Do Keep Tabs On What Your Donation Accomplishes- It takes time for charities to mobilize, to assess the problems that need to be addressed and to develop effective solutions. Donors need to be patient so charities will not feel pressured to plunge in and offer ineffective aid, simply to placate impatient donors. That doesn’t mean donors shouldn’t hold the charities accountable for delivering on their promises! Be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out (a) how your donation was put to use and (b) if the organization needs additional support to complete the recovery effort.
¡Animo Japón! ¡Estamos contigo! 頑張れ日本、僕らは君と共にいる
“JSDF member discovers 4 month old baby” http://twitter.com/dice/status/47309018749865985
(translated by Eiko Treder on Ben Folds’ Facebook discussion board)
To my Japanese fans and friends:
Japan has always been a very special place for me, my various bandmates and crew. Its damn heartbreaking to see anything at all happen to people you care about. I felt ill to see the news on Friday and all the images following. I’ve checked on my close friends in Japan and thankfully they’re all safe.
My Japanese fan base is not a massive arena full of faceless people, its the number of people I can see and count from stage, and many who I’ve met. Some have been along with us for 15 years! I hope you all have come out of all of this safe and sound, along with your friends and families.
I want to invite fans in Japan who have access to internet to post notes, stories, pictures, information as you see fit on this page which has been made for our small community of fans in Japan. I’ll read and look at every one of them and try to respond to as much as I can. It seems naturally what a family or community does. If there is anything that any of you are trying to send to specific people, and I can help, I will try.
Of course we’re all donating and there is a short list on this page just in case anyone has had trouble choosing a charity. Personal notes from you all might inform on how we can help from far away, even if its just donating, lending an ear or sympathizing.
I’ve never known any more determined people than the ones I’ve met in Japan so I’m sure you’ll dig out but… damn it sure sucks.
Not the praying type, but I’ll make an exception Japan.