Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan Quake Relief

No link in the title today, but there will be a few listed below after this blog.

Today is World Consumer Rights Day - a day that first came into being during John F. Kennedy's presidency in the 1960s. The point of the day - that consumers do have rights and that corporations cannot just walk all over consumers because they would rather make a buck. Boy do I have something to say about this - a lot of somethings - especially regarding the LACK of customer service I have received recently from FiOS among others. But with the northern half of Japan wondering whether or not they will be able to find shelter, food or water let along their relatives tonight, my whining about the fact that FiOS is not customer oriented seems a bit misplaced.

So - I will write that blog another time. Tonight, instead, I am going to urge you to help organizations that help those in serious need - especially after a disaster like the one seen in Japan on Friday.

I cannot say that I have lived through anything like the 9.0 earthquake in Japan on March 11. The largest earthquake I have ever experienced was officially a 6.7 magnitude quake. Granted it was at 4 AM on January 17th (nope - will never forget that date), a full 10-20 seconds of sheer terror, and ended up being one of the costliest disasters in US history, but Northridge cannot begin to compare to the one-two-three-four punch of northern Japan right now.

One - a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast.
Two - a tsunami with such force that it turned the ocean into a raging river washing away towns, cities and coastlines.
Three - nuclear core accidents at at least three reactors probably more.
Four - did anyone mention that it is still winter in Japan and snowing???

Take those three punches and add to it the lack of food, water, shelter or even blankets and you have a country that hasn't seen this much devastation since the end of World War II or earlier. And yet, the Japanese people seem to be taking everything in stride. Yes, they are scared and perhaps some of their reaction is actually shock.

But mostly you have businesses lowering prices on essentials or giving out free sodas because, trust me on this, water will not be potable for some time. Think summer at the earliest in some areas. You have people standing in line quietly, waiting their turn. There is no looting that has been seen - I believe news agencies would probably be searching for it and the fact that they are reporting on the lack makes me think it's pretty true. The quietude of the reaction to the dramatic post quake events has been incredible.

Especially considering that the photos I have seen show towns turned into matchsticks, large fishing vessels turned into toy boats upturned in the water, cars on roofs, and water roiling so strongly that concrete, rock and trees were eroded in moments. Just think - geological events that should probably take years took seconds. It's unreal.

I've been trying to figure out what I can do sitting here in Northern Virginia. You see, I was also trained as a first responder for the US Postal Service HQ Location. I lead a team, had a medical kit under my desk, was called to emergencies in the post office location downstairs from our HQ, the whole deal. Sitting still while I watch people in that much pain just does not bode well for me. My whole body is itching to climb onto a plane and join in the efforts to help. No, I am not a doctor, or a fire fighter, EMT, or police officer. I am just a well trained first aid and CPR individual who doesn't like not helping when I can.

Today that means letting you know about some of the different organizations currently on the ground in Japan so that you can, perhaps, reach out to them financially and help them in their missions. Some of these organizations have also helped in Indonesia, Haiti and Christ Church to name a few. Other than locating them on the CNN "How You Can Help" page I do not know that much about them so I urge you to do your own research as well.

Maybe, one day soon, I will figure out a way to create a non-profit of my own that can help during these disasters, but until then I will do what I can to help those already in existence by urging you to help as well.

A list of organizations can be found on CNN's Impact Your World page.

The International Societies of Red Cross and Red Crescent Organizations

American Humane Society

Convoy of Hope

Doctors Without Borders

International Medical Corps


Salvation Army of Japan

Save the Children

ShelterBox (one of the coolest organizations I have seen on this list - shelter for an entire family in one, very large, green container)

World Vision

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

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