After being hit by a record 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a deadly 25-foot-high tsunami and a nuclear crisis, the people of Japan are in desperate need of help. The small island nation is facing immense destruction and devastation as thousands have been reported dead, with many still missing or injured, and at least half a million people left homeless.
Approximately 343,000 households are without electricity and nearly one million are without water. Supplies of fuel, medicine and other necessities are running short.
Governments, organizations, churches and individuals from across the world are scrambling to provide a wide variety of much-needed assistance to Japan following the March 11 natural disasters. In the past, Japan has lent a helping hand to many nations following natural disasters, including the United States during Hurricane Katrina.
The American Red Cross has pledged an initial contribution of $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
Bob Newell, executive director of the Elk/Cameron counties chapter of the Red Cross, said donations are starting to arrive at the local chapter.
"We are getting about 2-3 checks a day," Newell said. "It takes awhile because groups decide to do a fundraiser and may take up to 1-2 months to do it."
People interested in donating to the Japan relief efforts through the Red Cross can do so in several ways, including dropping off checks at chapter offices and marking them "international relief"; mailing them to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018; pledging over the phone at 1-800-RED CROSS; going online at www.redcross.org; or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.
Donations may also be contributed through official Red Cross donation sites such as Amazon.com, American Airlines, Brooks Brothers, Chase Bank, Citi, Clorox, Cooking Channel, Costco in all of its 417 warehouses, Delta, Discover Card, Linkedin, Lowe's, Minor League Baseball, NBA Cares, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, POGO or Electronic Arts, QVC, Red Sox Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Toshiba, Univision, United Airlines, Vonage, WalmartStores.com, Walt Disney, and Pa. television station WGAL-TV.