Just three days after one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history, Japanese officials are scrambling to deal with the devastation from the subduction quake event and the aftermath of the resulting tsunami while trying to avoid a nuclear meltdown. While there is growing concern about shortages of clean drinking water and food, first responders are assembling to aid in search and rescue efforts and to assist with massive clean up operations. The best way to assist with earthquake relief and volunteering is to make direct monetary donations to agencies with immediate involvement.
Transportation Is Costly
If giving service to the community is a strongly held value, it is normal to want to do more than send money. However with a disaster of this magnitude transportation and the distribution of supplies is best left to existing agencies. Cost and accessibility work against timely and vital supplies getting through from outside sources. Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, who was interviewed for an article by Jessica Dickler of CNN on March 12, said, “Give money, not food, water and clothes. There’s a much higher shipping cost for supplies and it’s easier for disaster organizations to get cash and use it as they need to.”
Rooney further advises that those wanting to give should donate to the Red Cross and Save the Children because both organizations maintain a presence in the affected area. These highly reputable agencies will be able to assess the situation and use the funds to purchase the exact supplies that are needed at a given time, efficiently applying the money for earthquake relief and volunteering.
Relief Teams Need Donations
Another group providing much-need earthquake relief and volunteering to those affected by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake is the International Medical Corps. “We are putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities,” said Nancy Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corps. “While Japan has a large capacity to manage a disaster of this scale, we will respond as needed.” According to the group’s website, programs directly receive 92% of all donations.
Shelter Box USA, Inc., accepts ongoing donations to fill boxes and warehouse the supplies for delivery to those who survive disasters. The group arranges transportation for delivery of the boxes through their Shelter Box Response Team. Those wishing to help with this group’s earthquake relief and volunteering work can make small donations towards one $1,000 box.
Donate to Verified Groups
Before donating, make sure that the organization requesting funds is legitimate and verifiable. Also, not all agencies claiming non-profit status have the 501(C) designation that allows donors to take a tax deduction for the monetary assistance they provided. A further caution is to guard against unsolicited emails requesting money for disaster relief. Contact The National Center for Disaster Fraud if you suspect someone of using this or other disasters as a means for personal gain.
Making a monetary donation to an established agency already poised to make strides through coordinated earthquake relief and volunteering efforts is the best and quickest way to aid survivors in Japan. It is also the best way to make sure that those who have gone through this ordeal receive the supplies they need the most.