On March 11, the world changed. The devastating events that have unfolded in Japan over the last few weeks show not only the need for aid, but also the strength of humanity to band together in the most difficult of times. For information on ways to help the relief efforts, read below.
The Red Cross
According to its website, the American Red Cross has been working closely with its Japanese counterpart to deliver relief items to those affected. Currently, the organization is funding about half of the UN World Food Programme’s efforts in Japan. Donations can be made online, via phone or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
Save the Children
This nonprofit organization aims to help in emergency response efforts specifically aimed at children. Save the Children has stated on its website that it has “opened the first child-friendly space in Japan, protective environments where children can gather to play and share their experiences under the supervision of trained, caring adults.” Donations can be made online or via phone.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
While people are the priority in Japan, many are also interested in helping save the animals affected by the situation, many of which will face euthanasia if no one steps in. As soon as the nuclear situation becomes safe and stable, the International Fund for Animal Welfare will deploy to Japan. The group currently has plans to meet with local rescue groups and determine from those discussions how it will best aid the country. Donations can be made online.
International Medical Corps
The International Medical Corps has sent an emergency response team to many Japanese coastal villages that were hard hit by the tsunami and earthquake but have received less attention than the larger city of Sendai. The organization is aiming to fill in the gaps of already existing medical services, including aiding victims in obtaining food and water, emergency supplies, medicine for chronic illnesses, and psychological support. The International Medical Support also has four medical teams ready to deploy. Donations can be made online, through mail, via phone or by texting MED to 80888.
Many other national and international groups exist that are part of the humanitarian relief projects currently underway in Japan. If you’re looking for more local ways to make a difference, however, contact your campus student organization office or any local chapter of these nonprofit groups.
— By Kristy Shaulis, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign