Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Real life drama in Japan

Giant toybox - that isn't toys
Due to the incredible devastation in Japan, I decided to talk about things we can do to help. I hope this will help the Japanese people as well as give us a sense of accomplishment, and enable us to give in a meaningful way.

No, these aren't square crayons strewn across the daycare floor. These are the truck-sized cargo containers that go aboard ships. During the 8.9 earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, this scene is one of the aftereffects that happened.

Hard to imagine this, isn't it? There will be a scarcity of some goods due to this kind of setback in the economy in their country, ours, and many more around the world. Some of Japan's inhabited areas have been completely swept clean. It looks as if no one was ever there. Many of their people may never be heard from again. One can only imagine what happened to them. The sea swallows its dead, and the 3-story high tsunami that followed the earthquake effectively swept the ground clean. (see chart below)

You don't often see a boat in the middle of town, but this one was literally thrown ashore by the tidal wave that followed the quake. Most of the debris is made up of splinters left by the earthquake and tsunami. Fires have sprung up as well.

One wonders how in the world you can do anything to help when we're so far away and so much needs to be done. I've always believed it's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. So I went looking for a way to help.

Here's one way that I found.  

Shelterbox is a privately funded company that puts together waterproof crates filled with emergency supplies. Here are their words. "At the heart of every ShelterBox is a disaster relief tent for a family of up to 10 people. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit."

So what goes in the box? It can vary by location and need. In some places, the greatest need is shelter, so they pack two tents per box. There is usually a water purification system, a small stove that uses any kind of fuel, tools, first aid, and for children, a small set of coloring books and crayons. Many other things can be included. Visit their site to see more.

The best thing is that if you can only afford one single dollar, you can help. I went to PayPal to see if they had a way to donate, and sure enough -- they use a company called MissionFish that processes donations for them. PayPal doesn't charge a service fee for this, and MissionFish ensures every penny goes toward the charity of your choice. They list a large number of services you can pick to donate to.

Size of tsunami
compared to a

I decided to search for Shelterbox, and sure enough - it was there. It also included Save the Children, and many other well-known charity organizations, all working to help Japan, and elsewhere in the world where disaster strikes. In case you're wondering if they really need help, let me leave you with two pictures that told the story best (for me). Note the size of the tsunami compared to an average sized man. Gulp!

The image below shows cars ready to be shipped to various places around the world. Imagine how much manpower has been lost just right here, then multiply that by half the country of Japan, and you can see how devastated these people are. One source said it was nothing less than the clean up effort after World War II.
Auto Manufacturer's Ruined Cars

If your heart is already seeking a way to help, here's an answer for you. Go to PayPal and choose a charity. I chose Shelterbox, but whatever you do, don't wait.

Help is needed now. Click PayPal to help.

Photo credits

Containers: Photograph by Itsuo Inouye, Associated Press
Car piles: Photograph by Kyodo/Reuters


Cara Bristol said...

Timely, helpful post. It's always hard to know who to donate to during a disaster. You always wonder if your donation will get to the people who really need it. I'll check this out.

Kayelle Allen said...

I've had the same hesitation. When I looked into this one, I was impressed with how efficiently it was put together, from the box itself to the company. It's supported in part by Rotary clubs, and they've been doing charitable work since their founding. I wanted to give people a heads up about a way to help even if it was only the tiniest bit. Everyone working together can make a difference.

Mary Quast said...

The clean-up aspect of such an event totally blows me away.

I have noticed many animal agencies are helping rescue pets. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

I would suggest helping yourself, and those you love, also. Nasty dangerous! clouds of radiation are about to hit the West Coast. It will be riding on the Jet Stream. I am personally recommending folks go on an extended vacation if they live in California, Washington State, Oregon, West Coast of Canada and Alaska's Aleution Islands. Yes, go ahead, think I'm crazy!!! And, laugh. However, there have been nothing but lies about the nuke beyond-Chernobyl disaster in Japan.