Horrible news about Japan has been plaguing my Twitter and news feeds since the first earthquakes and tsunamis struck Japan on Thursday. It has been weighing heavily on my mind and I'm longing to do more.
There are already plenty of ways to give to the Japanese people and I've already posted on ways you can make a donation, but the fact of the matter is that only $12 million has been donated in the past four-five days since the quakes, far less than Haiti's earthquake last year and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Of course, Japan has a lot more money than Haiti and much better infrastructure to rebuild. But they are still facing an incredible amount of problems before they can even begin to hammer the first nail in. There are still thousands of people missing, hundreds of thousands displaced and more debris to be cleared that can even be estimated at the present time. Roads leading to the most affected areas are damaged, which means aid cannot easily reach these people. Food is in short supply and so are basic necessities and medical supplies. There are still rescue teams attempting to find survivors and victims, with many places beginning to run out of body bags to store the dead in. Before any of the wreckage is cleared, Japan must take care of these matters, and that's where we can begin to help.
I've chosen two charities to raise $1000 or more for: Doctors Without Borders and ShelterBox. Doctors Without Borders is already on the ground in Japan giving people medical attention and access to basic medical supplies. This is especially important as many local hospitals, clinics and practices have been wiped out by the disasters or are running over-capacity to help survivors. Without their help, survivors could suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, infections from injuries and illnesses from ruined water supplies. With their help, the survivors will be able to get back on their feet faster so that they can rebuild. ShelterBox is 24 hours away, from this posting, from arriving in Japan and bringing their boxes full of tents, warm clothing, blankets, cooking supplies, water filtration systems and more to the affected areas. (More what's inside a ShelterBox on Gizmodo.) The people of Japan will need these basic items to begin their lives anew, as well as keep healthy and warm. I feel that these are currently two of the best ways to give the Japanese people what they need in this time of crisis. barring the ability to bring these items to Japan ourselves.
You may be reluctant to give, perhaps you've already texted $10 to the Red Cross to help quake and tsunami victims, maybe you just have a tight budget this month, but if you can manage another $10-30 out of your anime and manga budget this month, we can give back to the country that has provided us with our favorite hobbies and forms of entertainment. If you are a big fan of anime and manga, Japanese music, Japanese figures or any thing else that can only be found in Japan, you probably feel the same affinity for Japan. These are media that have given people all over the world not just vibrant art and storytelling, but a look into a fascinating culture. While the areas most affected by the natural disasters are not the centers of anime and manga production, there is no doubt that many in the industry are from these cities and villages or have family there. There's a change that, one day, a famous creator will rise from these survivors and show us his or her unique perspective. By giving money to the relief efforts, we are not only helping others out of the goodness of our hearts, but we are giving back to a people who have brought us joy. I certainly feel like I owe a meaningful chunk of good things in my life to Japan, so if you feel the same way, I would like to encourage you to donate any amount possible.
It's safe to say that it could take years for Japan to fully recover. And no wonder, the quake was big enough to move Honshu 8 whole feet and change the earth's axis by seventeen centimeters. The tsunami has now permanently altered Japan's shorelines. This was no small world event and it won't end once the mainstream media's interest turns elsewhere. Even as our minds focus on other issues, we must remember that the people of Japan are still recovering.
This post will be updated as other bloggers link to this blog. Let me know if you're planning to post or contribute in other ways!
Thank you so much for your help and kindness to the survivors of Japan's devastating natural disasters.