As the crisis in Japan continues to unfold, seemingly without end, more and more people are moved to donate to relief efforts to provide help and aid to the Japanese people, but aren’t sure which relief efforts are legitimate, or how to avoid the scams. Here are three legitimate, worthy organizations, all of which are involved in relief efforts to help the victims of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant reactor crisis. Each has a different focus, and all are legitimate, and will use your donations well.
The three organizations whose information we are providing are the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The Red Cross
Most people are familiar with the Red Cross. Their mission, ever since the Red Cross was first founded 130 years ago, in 1881, has always included “aiding victims of devastating natural disasters.”
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Says the American Red Cross of their relief efforts in Japan, “We’ve established a designation for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. This designation targets relief not only in Japan, but in many other locations that were affected by the Pacific tsunami, including Hawaii and parts of the US West Coast. … In order to respect the independence of each country’s national society, the American Red Cross only responds to a disaster overseas with the permission of the Red Cross or Red Crescent national society in the affected country. When a Red Cross in another country reaches out for international assistance following a disaster, we can respond by deploying skilled people, mobilizing relief supplies or providing financial assistance. The American Red Cross has a cadre of emergency response workers, who are specially trained in international emergency operations. At the request of the Japanese Red Cross, we dispatched a disaster management expert from Washington, DC to Japan for a week-long mission yesterday. She will serve on a seven person international team focused on providing high level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross. We may provide cash for the rapid purchase of the most needed supplies. If supplies are not available in the affected country, we can release stocks of disaster relief items from our warehouses stationed around the world. Our support will continue as the full impact of the earthquake and resulting tsunami becomes more clear. We will continue to work with the Japanese Red Cross and provide assistance as determined through this partnership. Our assistance is made possible by the generous contributions from our donors.
You can donate to the Red Cross by text message, $10 at a time, by texting the word “REDCROSS” to 90999. The $10 donation will be billed to your wireless bill, or deducted from your prepaid balance.
Doctors without Borders
Doctors without Borders, also known by the French version of its name, Médecins Sans Frontières (or “MSF”) “is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. Today, MSF provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.”
According to Doctors without Borders, “MSF has sent medical teams to support the government-led earthquake and tsunami response in Japan. Our teams are running mobile clinics and conducting needs assessments, which will determine the full scope of MSF’s response.”
MSF/Doctors without Borders makes a point of stating on their site that they are currently using general donations to fund their efforts in Japan, and so “are not accepting donations specifically earmarked for the recovery efforts in Japan.” Personally, we know that Doctors without Borders is an incredible (and highly legitimate) organization, and so the fact that they aren’t earmarking donations specifically for Japan is ok by us – they’re there, and that’s what matters.
You can donate online to Doctors without Borders here.
You can also donate by giving them a call at 888-392-0392. Someone is there around the clock to accept your donations.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Finally, let us not forget about the animals. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is an organization that helps with rescue and relief efforts for animals around the world. Says IFAW, about the situation in Japan:
IFAW rescuers are readying an animal relief mission following the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan. They plan to provide pet food, water, veterinary supplies, vaccines, and temporary shelters, for Japan’s suffering animals.
You can donate online to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s relief efforts in Japan here.
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