Japan and the Tsunami
And how you can help.
All of the devastation in Japan has been heart wrenching for me to watch. After the 9.0 earthquake there have been an estimated 10,000 people dead with more aftershocks hitting Japan every day. There are still hundreds of thousands of people homeless, millions don't have access to food or supplies, and now the country is under the risk of a nuclear disaster.
This catastrophe has really been haunting me the past few days as I have a special relationship with the island nation. Last summer I traveled to Japan and lived in the Tokyo area for two months working at a summer camp and living with various host families.
It was without a doubt the best experience of my entire life. I got to view Mt. Fuji, try dozens of new and exotic dishes, ride trains and subways all over, and meet some incredible people.
But now I feel helpless not being able to do anything to help those people that became a part of my life. I've received an e-mail from one of my host families saying that she can't find any food at any of the grocery stores near her house.
Another said that their city is experiencing planned power outages so all of the energy is being used where it is most needed. Just today my friends in Tokyo are posting pictures of them wearing masks because of the fear that radiation is starting to spread all of Japan.
While initially I felt like there wasn't much I can do, I now know there are many ways to help with the tsunami in Japan. And every little bit helps, and some of it is extremely simple.
The first thing I did was text REDCROSS to 90999, which automatically donates $10 to the Red Cross, who have been amazing at helping with relief efforts thus far. The $10 will be charged on your next cellphone bill, which makes it easy and convenient.
Even popstar Lady Gaga is raising money for Japan. She recently designed a bracelet that reads "We Pray for Japan" in Japanese. The bracelets are being sold on her website and all proceeds will be used to aid the survivors of the Japanese tsunami. (Click here to see more ways to donate to Japan.)
But don't stop there. I implore you to use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to help raise awareness for this cause. It's an easy and fast way to inform friends and family about the disaster in Japan.
Millions of people need your help, and with a few clicks and keystrokes you have the potential to save a life. I truly hope you help Japan today.