One of the largest and most devastating earthquakes ever recorded hit Japan’s eastern coast on Friday. This earthquake spawned a ferocious tsunami. Both have killed hundreds of people as boats, cars and homes have been swept away and widespread fires burned uncontrollably. In addition to Japan, the tsunami hit Hawaii and sent warnings of destruction in the aftermath to South America, Canada, Alaska, as well as the entire U.S. West Coast.
Here is a video taken on the ground in Japan of the tsunami and the destruction it has caused in the area, including causing people’s belongings, trash, cars, buses and houses to be washed away from where they once stood.
About 170,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the area covering a radius of 12 miles around a nuclear plant in Fukushima near Iwaki due to a partial meltdown that was likely under way at a second nuclear reactor in the area. Authorities were frantically trying to prevent a similar threat from happening at a nearby unit following the earthquake and tsunami. Breaking news reported on Twitter that 15 people in the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear plant have been exposed to radiation.
Images from the tsunami and earthquake have been turning up and have been posted on pretty much every news website imaginable. They are heartbreaking.
When something like this happens, the first thing so many people want to know is how they can help. Many organizations and funds have mobilized to provide relief to those who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
Save the Children is organizing efforts and donations to its Children’s Emergency Fund that will support outreach.
International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the victims of this disaster. To donate and learn of the other ways you can contribute to its medical response, visit InternationalMedicalCorps.org. You can also text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to donate $10.
The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund has launched GlobalGiving.org to receive funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations that will help victims of the earthquake.
Their website states that they “are working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to provide support.” GlobalGiving.org has already raised over $100,000 from concerned Twitter users around the world.
Doctors Without Borders is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. Visit DoctorsWithoutBorders.org to make a donation and learn more about the organization’s efforts.
Google has also stepped up to help. They have placed a tsunami alert on its front page and has launched the Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake to help connect people that may have been displaced due to the disaster. Google has also launched a crisis response page that includes information with local resources and emergency information.
Head of PayPal‘s nonprofit group, Judy Chang, has announced that transactional fees incurred by money transfers to US 501(c)(3) organizations (or charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency) between March 11th and April 10th will aid relief efforts in Japan.