Japan devastated by quake and tsunami, here’s how you can help

Local
residents watch the devastation provoked by a tsunami tidal wave
smashing vehicles and houses at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture,
northern Japan. (Photo: Getty Images)

Despite its membership in the earthquake experienced “Ring of Fire,” Japan was hit and hurt by the 5th strongest recorded earthquake to strike since 1900, igniting a vicious tsunami that
crushed its shores early this morning. Japanese TV networks showed
images of surging water and uncontrolled fires that resembled scenes
from a Hollywood disaster movie as waves and flames destroyed anything
in its path, according to the Associated Press.

The 8.9 earthquake struck 80 miles from the northeastern shore of
Japan on Friday March 11. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was the
biggest earthquake to hit Japan since the first Japanese earthquake
records.

Many were injured and nearly 1,000 are presently feared to be killed;
the material damages have been crushing. Police said 200 to 300 bodies
were found in Japan’s northeastern coastal area. The quake prompted
tsunami waves which followed, consuming buildings and homes as they
carried fishing boats and large sea vessels in their tide. Also, a
nuclear emergency was declared after destruction at a Japanese power
plant.

In a news conference, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said “the earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan.”

More than 300 houses in Ofunato City were washed away and others
roasted in fires from bursting gas pipes. More news footage showed
uprooted trees and overturned cars littering the streets.

Following the devastation in Japan, tsunami warning were delivered
throughout the Pacific and for the coastal states of the Western U.S.
This morning, Hawaii was experiencing surging waves, but not substantial
damage at press time.

HOW TO HELP

The American Red Cross has taken over social media platforms, updating online followers through Twitter (@RedCross) and Facebook posts and accepting donations. Anyone can text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross efforts and be charged on their next cell phone bill.

To help find loved ones: Inquiries concerning U.S. citizens living or
traveling in Japan should be referred to the U.S. Department of State,
Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202 647-5225.

Global Giving
is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and
other organizations, taking donations to provide relief and emergency
services to the earthquake and tsunami victims. Visit GlobalGiving.org to donate.

Most disaster relief organizations are advising against sending care
packages, food, or clothing to the area at this time. Your $5 or $10
will go a much longer way. You can find additional donation options on Network For Good.

For breaking news and information on the situation in Japan and the coastal Western U.S., check out The Huffington Post or CBS News.

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