Good morning, Washington. We’re going to focus on the (still-developing) news from Japan today — and we would very much like to hear your thoughts:
What are you doing to follow the news? How can we, as individuals, take action and do some good when we are so far from the crisis? On the whole, what forms of international philanthropy are most effective?
Japan Earthquake: Radiation Leak Halts Work at Damaged Reactors — Early this morning, ABC News International and the BBC (among other outlets) revealed that “a rise in radiation levels at Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has forced workers to suspend operations.” According to ABC, “a Japanese government official also indicated for the first time that the containment vessels of all three of the reactors at the plant that exploded may be leaking, raising worries of dangerous radiation leaks.” 140,000 people live within a 12 mile radius of the planet and all have been evacuated from the area.
Earthquake aid totals $25 million – far less than Haiti — CNN Money reported that “donations to nonprofit organizations have reached about $25 million so far that number is far below the first four-day totals of other recent natural disasters.” But according to Stacy Palmer of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, slow giving at the start does not imply low giving overall. In fact, a gradual start might be just the right approach. Palmer states that a “lot of the non-profits waited to see what Japan actually wanted and started their appeals later … this slower reaction might mean that the money goes to the right places.”
Japan’s aid needs are different, but acute — Check out this article from yesterday’s Vancouver Sun, which inquires: “Japan is one of the world’s richer countries. So why does it need aid from us?” To answer that question, the writer aptly points out that, regardless of the affluence of a county, “the urgent need for everything at once simply overwhelms the fiscal, administrative and technical capacity of even the most developed country when it has been hit so hard.” In other words, amid a crisis of this magnitude, help is always needed and necessary.
Factbox: Aid and rescue offers for Japan quake — Reuters posted late last night that “international rescue effort to help Japan seek survivors of a massive earthquake and tsunami and address a nuclear crisis is gathering pace … Japan’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday 102 countries and 14 international organizations had offered assistance.” Included in the growing list of aid offers is China, which has donated 30 million yuan in supplies already. The Chronicle also has provided a running list of major donations from United States non-profits.