March 17, 2011

Thankfully Giving

Like most, the disaster that has hit Japan leaves me speechless and saddened. I can't imagine the feelings of fear, dismay and hopelessness the Japanese must be experiencing. There are no words for seeing houses and cars and entire lives swept away, crumbled and falling. To think of those men in the nuclear plant trying their best to prevent further tragedy creates a pit in my stomach. I think to myself, I couldn't do that. I couldn't take that risk, that chance. Yet, here they are giving it everything they've got. For themselves, their families and the country they call home. Maybe I would do it to, I don't really know - mostly because I'm fortunate enough to live somewhere where such disasters are rare and I've never been tested with such choices.

What I can do though is give. Our little family of two made a donation through the CBC's Japan Relief website, with the intent of helping as best we can from half a world away. Unfortunately, I keep hearing that donations for this relief effort are much lower worldwide than what was received from other such tragedies, such as Haiti. So many people believe that Japan is a wealthier nation, so they don't need as much. Many believe that the Japanese government will take care of it. Yet, the reality is, while a wealthier nation, the debt to GDP ratio is nearly double. And when I think of governments, I know that the response time does not often meet the immediate need. Even here in NL during disasters of lesser scopes have hit, such as hurricanes, our government steps up, but is still burdened and slowed by the inherent red tape. The real immediate help - food aid, clothing, temporary shelter and communications support - comes from the disaster response teams such as the Red Cross, World Vision and others. And those organizations rely on our donations to make a difference on the ground, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
So for those who have the means to donate, please do. The CBC Japan Relief site offers links to recognized and valuable charities you can choose from. For those who have more limited financial means, please send prayers and thoughts to our fellow citizens and pass the word along to your contacts who might be able to contribute. Between us, we can make a difference.

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