There is no doubt that you would have seen the calamities that have affected Japan in recent days. So far, at least 2,500 casualties have been confirmed, with 1,800 injured and over 3,700 people missing. And that’s without mentioning the millions that are without access to clean water, fuel or food.
There have also been three explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, and technicians are struggling to prevent a meltdown. Civilians have been evacuated from a 12-mile radius around the area.
The Red Cross is the main organisation overseeing donation collection, and they have around 80 teams on the ground.
One of the amazing things is that countries who have undergone recent disasters of their own have pledged aid to Japan, such as Pakistan and Bolivia. On Sunday, Reuters reported that the mayor of Kandahar city in Afghanistan has pledged $50,000 to relief efforts.
Aid doesn’t have to be in the form of money either; the president of Maldives is sending 86,400 cans of tuna to help with food shortages. This is in acknowledgement of Japan’s help following the 2004 tsunami.
Unfortunately, scammers have jumped on the donation bandwagon and have created illegitimate websites to hoax people into sending money. According to one set of research, an estimated 1.7 million scam websites can be found through Google (although multiple pages will be listed with different search terms), and 14,200 were added between Sunday and Monday.
There are a number of ways that you can help those in need:
- The British Red Cross
- PayPal are also offering a donation service, where you can choose a charity to send money to
- Google Crisis Response has a page with plenty of resources and an online donation facility for the Japanese Red Cross Society
- Mashable also has a list of ways to donate through text, Facebook, iTunes and more
You can also try and raise money in your local community through bake sales, football tournaments or other sponsored initiatives.
There has been some debate as to whether we should be sending money and aid to Japan, as they are a wealthy country themselves. However, what gives us the authority to say who should be on the receiving end of a helping hand?
Indeed, the Messenger of God has said: “Give to a beggar even if he comes on a horse.” (Malik)