Disaster in Japan: How You Can Help

The death toll continues to climb in Japan from Friday's earthquake and the tsunami that followed. Japanese officials now say the quake may actually have been 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it one of the worst earthquakes ever recorded. They estimate the number killed may eventually top 10,000, as rescue and recovery teams begin to search the northern Pacific coastal villages that were enveloped by the the 30-foot-high tsunami waves.

The earthquake also caused serious damage to buildings and destroyed many homes, leaving an estimated five million households without electricity, 1 million without water and thousands more without homes, according to Red Cross estimates.

Want to help? Here are some good places to start:

The Red Cross
The relief organization has already launched disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami throughout the Pacific. Visit Redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 directly through your phone.

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has two three-person teams attempting to get to the worst-hit areas in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. Once there, the teams will liaise with local emergency response authorities to assess medical needs. Another 25 MSF medical and logistical staff in Japan are on standby to respond once the situation has been assessed. You can donate through the Doctors Witout Borders website.

Save The Children
Save the Children has mobilized an international emergency team to assist its staff in Japan. (The humanitarian agency has been in Japan for 25 years and is in many of the other Pacific nations as well -- it was a major responder to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 225,000 people.) You can donate directly to its Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund to support Save the Children's relief efforts.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has been active in Japan since 1895, with more than 1,000 employees operating church and community centers, small social service stations, hospitals, and more than 20 institutions serving children, seniors, the addicted, and other at-risk populations.

Due to the Salvation Army’s extensive presence, the organization says it is unlikely that volunteers from the United States will be needed for initial recovery operations. But cash donations are appreciated. There are five ways you can contribute money to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in Japan:

- Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
- By phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
- On-line at: www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.
- By mail: Send your check, marked “Japan earthquake relief” to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301-0959

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