Japanese need prayers, support

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2011

Watching news reports of the devastation in Japan, where a 8.9-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami have caused massive damage leaves many wishing to help and not knowing exactly how to go about it.

While it’s easy to see that people need help, it’s hard to know at this point the extent of the need and what needs are most immediate. While it’s OK to wait, experts suggest that those who want to help now should funnel their help through reputable aid organizations, like the Red Cross and Save the Children. Those organizations already have a presence in the impacted area and their response will likely be faster and more efficient than other organizations that are not on the ground.

Experts recommend giving money, not food, water or close. Shipping is too expensive and it’s much easier for disaster organizations to work with cash.

Already, a Red Cross warehouse in Malaysia is fully stocked with enough relief supplies to aid 5,000 families. The organization is poised to restock that, but will need financial support.

And unfortunately, there’ll be look-alike organizations cropping up in the next few days and some of them won’t be legitimate.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises donors not to respond to any unsolicited incoming e-mails, but rather go directly to recognized charities and aid organization’s websites, as opposed to following a link to another site.

Yes, our help is needed. But what’s needed most are our dollars and our prayers.