It is hard to believe that just over two weeks ago, Japan was plunged into one of the worst natural disasters in history. From the (now upgraded) devastating 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami waves to an ongoing nuclear crisis, the tragic loss of life and impact on the Japanese economy is still unknown. The death toll has risen to over 9,000 and calculations on damage have exceeded 300 billion USD so far.
While organizations like the Red Cross are obviously concentrating their efforts on rendering relief for Japan, there are numerous local Japanese organizations that need help, but do not have the same access to global fund raising efforts. Donating to the Red Cross and other global organizations is certainly helpful, but what if you want to get money to the lesser known local charities that are not only rendering aid, but were certainly personally affected by the events on March 11? And, if you want to donate to a local Japanese charity, how do you know which organizations are trustworthy?
Some of you may be familiar with travel blogger Todd Wassel who runs Todd's Wanderings. Todd and his wife are United Nations recovery and aid workers who were in Tokyo visiting family at the time of the earthquake. Todd is putting together a #Blog4Japan event to help raise awareness and donations for relief efforts in Japan. He and his wife were involved in relief efforts from the tragic 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that resulted in over 200,000 deaths. Understanding how important aid is and recognizing how long it can take for a region to recover after a natural disaster, Todd has put together a list of reputable Japanese organizations in need of donations and assistance right now. They have done all the legwork and even gone so far as scouting out the English webpages for each charity.
For those who may be interested in donating directly to a local Japanese organization, here are the ones Todd personally recommends. (Please note: These charities are listed for informational purposes only. There is no requirement or official endorsement from TravBuddy regarding donations.)
Peace Winds Japan
Peace Winds Japan is one of the largest Japanese organizations providing humanitarian relief such as food, clothing, fuel and medical supplies to the affected areas. You can Donate Here.
JEN is a well known NGO dedicated to restoring a self-supporting livelihood both economically and mentally to those who have been stricken with hardship due to conflicts and disasters. They are currently supporting emergency relief items such as food, woman’s hygienic items, clothes and other essentials to the survivors of the Japan Tsunami. You can Donate Here.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is donating food and essential items to the survivors of the tsunami. They also keep a well maintained English blog of their activities in Japan for the tsunami which you can Follow Here. You can Donate Here.
The Japan Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP)
The Japan Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning is taking donations for their response to the tsunami that will focus on the reproductive health needs of women and mothers in affected areas. You can Donate Here.
The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA Japan)
The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA Japan) team is delivering essential medical services through mobile clinics and delivering relief goods to the nursing homes and schools (evacuation shelters) in Aoba and Miyagino Wards. You can Donate Here.
OXFAM Japan is working with two partners in Japan on providing support to those on the margins of society who might otherwise have difficulty accessing emergency relief. One group is assisting mothers and babies and the other is providing information to non-Japanese speakers living in Japan. You can Donate Here.
Habitat For Humanity Japan
Habitat For Humanity Japan is still assessing the situation but will be involved in the reconstruction of housing once the emergency period ends. This is one of the most vital aspects of recovery and the homeless will need a lot of help to put their lives back together. You can Donate Here.
The Institute for Cultural Affairs Japan (ICA)
The Institute for Cultural Affairs Japan (ICA) is still assessing the situation but is accepting donations. You can Donate Here.
We know many TravBuddies have directly been affected by this tragedy and we send our thoughts and prayers with hope that Japan will recover quickly.
Initial photo of Japan tsunami used with permission from Todd's Wanderings.