Our prayers to Japan

The last several days have been just gut-wrenching. A pause today. I am going to make a donation to the Red Cross, and to pray for everyone in Japan. God bless.

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, March 15, 2011 — The American Red Cross today announced an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist in its ongoing efforts to provide medical care and relief assistance to the people of Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been declared one of the most devastating earthquakes in history,” said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help channel that support to our partner in Japan that is playing a critical humanitarian role and comforting the survivors.”

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. Many local volunteers took immediate action following the disaster by distributing relief items, offering hot meals, clearing debris and providing medical transportation.

As concerns mount about damage to nuclear power plants in the north, the Japanese Red Cross is also focused on supporting the 200,000 people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. Many of the Japanese Red Cross branch offices have trained nuclear decontamination teams and equipment, including special tents for decontamination which can be used to support a government response. A specialist medical team at the Nagasaki Red Cross hospital is on standby, ready to receive patients if people become ill as a result of radiation poisoning. Other hospitals in the area are monitoring radiation levels to protect the patients they are currently treating.

At public shelters and throughout the country, local volunteers are handing out relief items, including more than 65,000 blankets which are of great comfort to the displaced, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors, in their vehicles and wherever else they can find space since the earthquake.

“There is a real concern for the elderly, who are extremely vulnerable to hypothermia,” said Meltzer. “Japan is a country with a high proportion of seniors, and the Red Cross will be doing all it can to support them through this dreadful experience.”

More than 100 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses have been providing assistance in the most affected areas through mobile medical clinics. Trained nurses with the Japanese Red Cross are also offering psychosocial support to traumatized survivors.

While the damage is undeniably severe and needs enormous, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives post-disaster. Investments in early-warning systems and disaster preparedness and other training programs, including those from the American Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, paid off in the Pacific Basin last week. The Japanese government’s own system helped hundreds of thousands evacuate to the approximately 2,000 shelters supported by the Japanese Red Cross before the first tsunami waves reached the mainland. And Red Cross societies in Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Palau and Fiji undoubtedly saved lives by alerting and evacuating residents when the tsunami warnings sounded.

In addition to financial assistance, a disaster management expert from the American Red Cross arrived in Japan Monday for a week-long mission. She is serving on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross, which continues to support the Japanese government’s earthquake and tsunami response.

Those who want to help can go to www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. Gifts 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 crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and service victims of other crises.

In the coming weeks, the American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid Japan’s relief and recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward. Donations received by the Japanese Red Cross from people within Japan will be pooled and managed by an independent grant disbursement committee, which will include the Japanese Red Cross. The grants will be disbursed in installments in order to responsibly and effectively respond to the country’s evolving relief and recovery needs.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.


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  1. Leslie says

    Thank you for your post today Pam. It prompted me to make a contribution to the American Red Cross. As I watch the morning news, I am filled with the feeling of heartache and helplessness for the people in Japan.

  2. Kersten says

    Pam. You are a true and genuine person. And, don’t take this the wrong way, but I love you. 🙂 As more people talk about donating, I think more donating will actually occur. I watch too much CNN before bed, and it is heartbreaking… I feel helpless. Donating is a way to feel more connected. Thank you.

  3. Lynn-O-Matic says

    Thanks, Pam! Normally your site is my little oasis of fun and frivolity (although I take it very seriously) every morning amidst all the blogs and news sites I read, and it always makes my day. From time to time I try to remind myself (and my daughters!) that even though we don’t have a lot of extra money, we have plenty of everything we really need, and we’re some of the luckiest people who’ve ever lived. Thanks for reminding me to keep my mid-mod madwoman persona in perspective. And thanks for always having the right post at the right time, every day!

  4. pam kueber says

    Thanks to everyone for their comments. I do try to keep this a place of joy and optimism. But I had to stop for even just one day.

  5. says

    Although we all want/need our little dose of retro happiness from you every day, I think it is very important that we are reminded of how lucky we are, even the “poorest” among us usually have everything we need. Thank you so much for this example of generosity and gently reminder to donate to those who are truly in need. If even just a small percentage of your readers donate, it will make a big difference!

  6. CindyD says

    Thank you, Pam. I saw a headline that said donations were way down compared to the earthquake in Haiti. I appreciate your post today.

  7. Heidi Swank says

    I lived in Japan for two years some time back. I loved my time in Japan and still feel very connected to the place. I was at a conference in DC just this past weekend. There were several conference participants from Japan who were returning to Japan on Sunday. I was amazed at their strength as they headed back home. Thank you Pam.

  8. Puddletown Cheryl says

    1958 in Walla Walla on Christmas morning, a little girl received some wondrous gifts from her Grandparents who had just visited Japan. She found a kimono, just her size, dolls and various trinkets, all brightly colored and beautifully designed. It opened that small town girl’s world and introduced her to the special beauty of Japan. I pray that all that beauty will soon help heal Japan’s terrible pain that just seems to be growing. It seems so gray now, but hopefully soon the bright colors of Japan will begin to reappear.

  9. Amy Hill says

    This is such a tragedy. It is terrible on so many levels. Thank you for encouraging your readers to help in any way possible. I pray that the nuclear reactors are cooled soon and that things don’t get any worse, and that the situation improves soon.

  10. Lawrence Bill says

    Pam, thank you. I have also lived in Japan and benefited enormously from the experience. Japan is very close to my heart in many ways. I hope that everyone who reads this will donate something for the relief effort over there, or at the very least reach out to someone you know who is Japanese and show your support for this wonderful country and its people.

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