How to help the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan

As everyone is aware, Japan was hit by a devastating 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on Friday. We’ve been grappling with the images on television and the Internet and our hearts go out to the Japanese people.  We visited Japan in 2005 and had a wonderful experience there.

A temple we visited in Japan

Fortunately, we’ve been able to make contact with our friends living in Japan through Facebook and everyone we know in the region is safe.

It can be overwhelming watching this tragedy on television.  If you would like to make a contribution or otherwise assist those in need, we have compiled a list of organizations that are looking for help.

These are some of the largest and most reputable charities; we will update the list as we become aware of additional organizations.

Where to donate:

The Red Cross: visit the website or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone

Doctors Without Borders: visit the website and click on ‘donate’

All Hands Volunteers: visit the website to make a donation

International Medical Corps: visit the website or text MED to 80888 to donate $10 from your phone

The American Red Cross website accepts donations of $10 or more.

More information:

For those with loved ones in Japan, Google has launched a Person Finder for the Japan earthquake. This free service helps connect people who have been displaced due to the disaster.  On the website, you can both look up or post information relating to someone’s whereabouts in the country.

We have embedded Google’s Person Finder here:

Google also has launched a Crisis Response Page that contains lots of information regarding emergency numbers, travel information, power outages, aftershock warnings, and more.

Travel alert:

You may be tempted to travel to Japan to assist in the recovery. However, this might not be the best way to help.  The US State Department has issued a travel alert urging all US citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Japan at this time.

Officials say that while most airports have reopened and public transportation has resumed, many roads have been damaged and strong aftershocks are continuing.

If you already have a flight booked to Japan, contact your airline for details of their cancellation policy.  Several airlines are offering travel waivers or refunds.

Additional resources:

Do you know of a worthy charity that benefits victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami? If so, please share it with other readers by leaving a comment below.


Enjoy this post? Follow Downtown Traveler on Twitter and Facebook.

About Jake Semmel

I'm a blogger and round the world traveler. I'm always on the lookout for new places to scuba dive, hike and ski.