How to help Japan

11:58 AM, Mar 11, 2011   |    comments
An ironworks caught fire and exploded in the city of Chiba, Japan in the wake of the earthquake
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SACRAMENTO, CA - With the devastating earthquake and tsunami affecting Japan, many are asking how they can help or inquiring about friends and family overseas.  Many local non-profits are currently setting up fundraising efforts to help those in Japan. SLIDESHOW: Quake, tsunami damage 

The American Red Cross has just set up a donation fund designated to the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.  Your gift 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.

On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Individuals wishing to make a donation can do so either online at, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army is asking for the public's help to aid in the relief efforts in Japan.  Those interested in helping are encouraged to give financial donations, which offer great flexibility and enable local disaster responders to purchase exactly what is needed as close to the disaster zone as possible.

There are four ways people can contribute money to The Salvation Army's 'Japan Earthquake / Tsunamis' disaster relief efforts:

  • Text the words "Japan" or "Quake" to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
    By phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY - designate gift for "Japan Earthquake/Tsunami"
    Online at - designate gift for "Japan Earthquake/Tsunami"
    Or by mail:  send your check marked "Japan Earthquake/Tsunami" to The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Relief Fund, PO Box 630728, Baltimore, MD  21263-0728

At this time, The Salvation Army is not accepting in-kind donations from the general public disaster relief operations in Japan as it is extremely difficult and expensive to ship in-kind donations overseas from the United States to Japan.  The best way for U.S. donors to help Japanese disaster survivors is to make a cash donation.

The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami  Relief Fund was launched at to garner funds for relief organizations helping victims and has already raised thousands, particularly from Twitter users around the world:

Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.   For inquiries about relatives living in Japan who are not US citizens, encourage the members of your community to keep calling or to try contacting other family members who live in the region.  Even though communication networks overloaded right now, the situation may change and access to mobile networks and the internet may improve.  

Following the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Google has released a version of its Person Finder service to help people find victims or report on their whereabouts. The Person Finder will work as a Web directory and message board where people can either look for lost friends and relatives or leave a note to confirm their safety. The system, which was very useful after other recent natural disasters like the Haiti and New Zealand earthquake, has been designed to be embedded on Websites and social network pages so as to reach as many people and aid agencies as possible. The Google Person Finder site is available at: 

News10 / Sacramento

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