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How We Are Helping After the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Photo from Japanese Red Cross

Update 3/16/11: From the Japanese Red Cross: “At a time when the Japanese Red Cross is providing medical assistance, blankets, and other humanitarian care to tens of thousands of Japanese who have been devastated by earthquakes, a tsunami, and evacuations occasioned by nuclear power crises, the Japanese Red Cross is extremely grateful for the financial assistance being provided by the American people and the American Red Cross,” said Naoki Kokawa, Director, International Department of the Japanese Red Cross.

Update 3/15/11: We’ve made an initial financial contribution of 10 million dollars to the Japanese Red Cross. Read more here.

We’ve received an incredible amount of support from the public following the devastating earthquake in Japan and ensuing Pacific tsunami last Friday. As always, we are grateful for your support and will channel your donations in a way that is both responsible and effective in meeting the survivors’ humanitarian needs.

We’ve also noticed that there is some confusion about how the American Red Cross works to provide aid in a situation like this. Below is an explanation that should help clarify.

Officials from the Japanese Red Cross have indicated they would be grateful for donations from the American Red Cross to support their earthquake and tsunami response. The American Red Cross also aided the Japanese during the Kobe earthquake in 1995, and they, in turn, sent us help during 9-11 and Katrina.

We’ve established a designation for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. This designation targets relief not only in Japan, but in many other locations that were affected by the Pacific tsunami, including Hawaii and parts of the US West Coast.

As many of you may know, the American Red Cross is a member of the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising the International Committee of the Red Cross and 186 national societies. In this case, the Japanese Red Cross is a strong national society; in fact, they dispatched 95 response teams within the first 48 hours after the quakes hit.

In order to respect the independence of each country’s national society, the American Red Cross only responds to a disaster overseas with the permission of the Red Cross or Red Crescent national society in the affected country. When a Red Cross in another country reaches out for international assistance following a disaster, we can respond by deploying skilled people, mobilizing relief supplies or providing financial assistance. The American Red Cross has a cadre of emergency response workers, who are specially trained in international emergency operations.

At the request of the Japanese Red Cross, we dispatched a disaster management expert from Washington, DC to Japan for a week-long mission yesterday. She will serve on a seven person international team focused on providing high level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross.

We may provide cash for the rapid purchase of the most needed supplies. If supplies are not available in the affected country, we can release stocks of disaster relief items from our warehouses stationed around the world.

Our support will continue as the full impact of the earthquake and resulting tsunami becomes more clear. We will continue to work with the Japanese Red Cross and provide assistance as determined through this partnership. Our assistance is made possible by the generous contributions from our donors.

119 Responses to “How We Are Helping After the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami”

  1. Yama,
    You should see the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami designation when you click the red Donate Funds button at http://www.redcross.org or on the home page of this blog. Thank you for your support.

  2. We have a large home in Salem, Oregon. A Japanese family, and pet, is welcome to stay in our home for as long as needed. I can help pay for their flight from Japan.

  3. A Japanese couple of family is welcome in our home for as long as needed. Their family pet is also welcome. We are in Dallas, Oregon, a small, quiet, farming community 12 miles from Salem Oregon.

  4. Larry and Al,
    We know of no initiatives to bring Japanese citizens to the United States.

  5. I have a suggestion for those United States residents who wish to donate funds to a foreign charity, one based outside the United States. If you want your donation to be tax-deductible, please confer with your tax adviser before you do anything. I am NOT a tax expert, but it is my understanding that such a donation would NOT be deductible for US Federal income tax purposes. This IRS page may be helpful: http://1.usa.gov/gg8IAP

  6. My husband and I are willing to provide housing for anay displaced families or individuals. We have the space to help in this manner should they be willing to leave Japan for the time being. Japanese translators are available also.

  7. I should mention that we live in the midwest.

  8. EVERYBODY GOOGLE NOW HAS SET UP AN ONLINE TOOL TO GIVE TO THE JAPANESE RED CROSS DIRECTLY. http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html

  9. Thanks so much Dianne. It’s so heartwarming to know that people like you are out there. We don’t anticipate a need to host families from Japan in the U.S. but your offer is very kind.

  10. […] this is for Japan.  I’d urge you again to contribute to a reputable organization like the Red Cross to help with rescue and recovery.   But nothing infuriates me like the tendency of our media to […]

  11. i see the questions that i have, about how to get in touch with someone to say we are willing to house japanese, and i see the response saying that many are trying to stay in Japan because of the visas..

    but because of the area currently being without any water, homes, electricity, etc, is there a way for the family to get here, and THEN worry about getting a visa through the Japanese Embassies in the foreign countries, or maybe in the United Statesf? (you can tell i am completely ignorant how this works but i want to help)

    my husband and i have talked extensively about this, and we are willing to house a mother and child/children to assist her in getting back on her feet till her area is more livable… we understand that this may not be a 3 or 6 month process, but maybe a 3 situation… and we understand that maybe finding a place for her and her children to stay may be a near impossibility right now for what is going on.


    with the conditions as they are, currently, would that be a bigger difficulty?

  12. i posted a comment that i cannot see…

    my husband and i are trying to find out who we contact to offer our home for assistance… please advise. i asked if maybe there was a way to worry about VISAs after they were already in the States, with food, shelter, clothing, water, job & education opportunities, etc…

    i want to know how to help. i am on this board to find out how.

    i live near Louisville Kentucky. and years ago many areas of the ohio river were completely wiped by river flooding. while it it in no way compares to the tsunami, and the thousands of homeless to our hundreds of homeless, i know that the red cross was there. and the red cross offered shots, food, shelter, and volunteers.

    yet, what we went thru is NOTHING compared to this. it was a scratch on our knee.

    please keep your opinions and your silliness about about whether these people deserved this or not, or whether we have a good president or not, to yourselves. it scares away the people that have the means and want to help–which is obviously some people’s plans…

  13. Yama wrote on March 16th, “Japan Red Cross society and American Red Cross had the agreement: Donors can direct the donation to Japan Red Cross Society when they donate under Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief. Where Do I indicate that?” However, it appears the donation can be made to “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.” There is no designation for Japan Red Cross Society. Please clarify. Thank you.

  14. Question on Wendy’s quote below as it contradicts with what’s on donation page of American Red Cross.
    Who exactly decides how much ‘expense’ is needed for Japan relief effort? All you have sent so far is $10mm out of more than $100mm raised. How is the rest going to be used, if at all for Japan? There’s serious lack of transparency here and those who were so kind enough to donate deserve to know how their money is being spent!

    Wendy Harman, on March 15th, 2011 at 9:58 pm Said:
    Richard – With the exception of our costs for operations along the US west coast and Hawaii related to the tsunami (supporting more than 2,500 in evacuation centers), and an average of 9 percent we typically charge for administrative costs, all the money raised by the American Red Cross will go to the Japan earthquake and tsunami response.

    Comment in Donation page:
    Your gift 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 disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

  15. My wife said that some of her friends heard that you have enough funds for the Japan quake already I would like to know if that is true or not.

  16. The red cross has collected the most amount of money for any disaster ever, and yet it has used less than 10%. Everyone knows you mean well, but it is obvious to all in Japan that the lack of action is something that will certainly effect the red cross’ efforts in future endeavors. That the imperial family is connected to such an organization is further saddening for all thosenthat donated in good faith in Japan and abroad.


  17. Hi Tommy – thanks for your comment. We’ve actually released an update detailing the amount of money we’ve contributed so far ($245 million) and what the money is helping to do. You can read it here: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.94aae335470e233f6cf911df43181aa0/?vgnextoid=f478aaf9bc911310VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

    The money contributed so far is at about 90% of what we received from our generous donors. We will continue to contribute more while working in partnership with the Japanese Red Cross. Thanks,


  18. Trying to reflect back on my girl scout troops fundraiser from last year. Can you give me a ballpark figure for how many people might have benefited from my 1st graders donation of $620?

  19. Hi Susan – thanks to you and your Girl Scout troop! Here’s a report about what we’ve accomplished in Japan. http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/international/Japan/JapanEarthquakeTsunami_OneYear.pdf

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