Donate to Japan

Written by on March 29, 2011 in Lifestyle - 24 Comments | Print this page

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Donate to JapanIf you are remotely aware of current events you may be wondering if we are living in apocalyptic times.  The newspapers, the television and the internet are all covered with stories of war and natural disasters.

There are wars and rumors of wars.  Nations are warring against nations and against their own citizens.  Yes, politicians are corrupt.  Governments make decisions that affect their citizens more than they (we the people) realize.

Occasionally, certain regions of the world will experience extreme weather conditions.  Maybe not enough rain in one area, while another receives too much.  Winter may last longer than normal in the northern hemispheres.  Or the southern areas may endure torrential downpours.

This has all been the case at some time or another in the past.  But with the recent increase in political tensions and natural disasters, one must question the reality of these heightened events.

On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake which caused a tsunami to devastate the country.  Presently the death toll is at 10,000, close to 20,000 people are missing and hundreds of thousands more injured and at risk for radioactive contamination.

So we have to wonder, what is going on in the world?  Before Indonesia’s 2004 tragedy, how many of us knew anything about the word tsunami?

This week I watched extensive footage of the disaster in Japan.  I was covered in goose bumps and felt a knot in my stomach the entire time.  Ten thousand people confirmed dead and even more feared to be dead.  When I got home I went online to find disaster relief agencies to which I could contribute.

What did I find? Over 47,000,000 search results in Google for the term “donate to Japan”.  The majority of which all provided links and organizations that were accepting monetary donations to fund aid to Japan.

Sadly, there were also plenty of scams.  The search result that caught my attention however (and I’m ashamed to admit this) was entitled “Don’t Donate to Japan”.

Of course the title instantly puzzled me. I wondered if the writer was serious and if the article would support such a strong statement.  Or was he making an inappropriate attempt to capture viewers (much like myself who would be curious because of the title)?

The answer was a combination of both.  After reading the entire article and many of the comments, I concluded that he was indeed using the title to draw attention to his blog.  The article did however go on to explain that donations should be given to organizations that will distribute funding not just to countries facing immediate devastation but other areas in need of help that don’t have large media coverage.

It was a good point, but in the end I feel his approach – though it accomplished what I believe to be his ultimate goal – was inappropriate and construed as disrespectful to many.  Most interesting were the many comments from ignorant posters who misunderstood the meaning of the article and applauded the title.

It makes you wonder.  Are there really people out there that feel no sympathy for their fellow human beings when tragedy strikes?  Many commentators even went as far as to say that Japan is a rich nation so they don’t need the help.  I found that mentality scary and disgusting.  Since when does wealth exclude a nation or individuals from sympathy?  Don’t we all strive to improve our quality of life?  Why punish those who have achieved their goal?

Just three weeks ago I went outside to find a flat tire on my car.  My neighbor Chris was walking by at the right time and offered to help.  While he changed my flat, I learned that he and his girlfriend – who stood patiently in the cold waiting for him – had just returned from Japan.

Days earlier I received an email from a resume client who had also recently returned from visiting his family in Japan.  He wanted to spice up his cover letter and resume for a new position in the banking industry.

Did either Chris’s girlfriend or my resume client come from wealthy families?  No, they didn’t.  But since they live in Japan does that mean they don’t deserve empathy or help?  No, it doesn’t.

For anyone reading this that wants to contribute to helping the Japanese people during their time of troubles you will find a list of reputable organizations below.  For those of you who want to chime in with your own feelings on this subject, please do so below and share the article with others.

Google Crisis Response – http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html

Provides donation sources, people finder, alerts and status, transit status, shelter info, radiation and health info and a Japanese-English translator tool.

The Red Cross via Facebook – http://www.causes.com/campaigns/154523

Mercy Corps – https://www.mercycorps.org/donate/japan

Medical Teams International – http://www.medicalteams.org/sf/Home.aspx

Doctors Without Borders – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

If you come across any fraudulent donation activities/sites please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or file a complaint with the Crime Complaint Center http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Image Credit: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About the Author

Alana Johnson

Alana Johnson tries to enjoy the simple things in life and writes for the Lifestyle category on Quality Life Resources. Living in the small New England town of Norwalk, CT, she looks forward to the warm summer months. To submit your own article for my category, please click HERE. View all Self Improvement articles.