Japan in Crisis: What you can do

42_japanese_flag.jpgThe aftermath of last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan is nothing short of horrific. I’m sure most of you have seen footage of the devastation on the news and on YouTube. My mind is boggled, my heart is aching, and I am all in all extremely overwhelmed by what is happening.

While I haven’t heard about any specific Sikh responses or relief efforts yet, United Sikhs, which sent a team to Haiti after last year’s huge earthquake, has a Japan earthquake/tsunami page up on their website. If you know of any efforts happening, please post them in the comments section.

While we keep the people of Japan in our thoughts and prayers, there are many ways we can be taking action. Below are a few simple things you can do to provide support. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, so please add your own suggestions.

1. Donate to relief efforts. I have heard good things about Peace Wings Japan, whose mission is to conduct rapid and emergency humanitarian activities to help people whose lives are threatened by disputes and natural disasters. We provide support for rehabilitation and development of the community where many suffer from destruction of social foundation, by aiming at self-help (empowerment) of the local people.

2. Sign this petition to stop mobile company delays on donations to Japan. Verizon and AT&T are reportedly waiting until the end of a customers billing cycles to process donations sent via SMS, delaying much needed money from getting to relief organizations on the ground for up to 90 days.

3. Sign this petition to President Obama to urge him to reverse his unrelenting support for nuclear power. What is unfolding in Japan is likely to be the biggest nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl. And this in a country that was literally destroyed by the US dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, killing over 200,000 people immediately. The long-term effects of exposure to radiation persist today. And now this.

There are 104 nuclear power plants in the United States, and President Obama has historically sung the praises of nuclear energy as “clean” energy. His 2012 budget includes $36 billion in loans to the nuclear industry. (Yes, billion, with a B). As of yesterday, the president still supports the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States.

With the bitter irony of Sikhs around the world celebrating our very first Sikh Environment Day a few days ago, the US (and the rest of the nuclear world) must learn from this catastrophe in Japan and invest in clean, renewable energy, not nuclear time bombs. Sign the petition, and tell your Congress members what you think about nuclear power.

In the spirit of sarbat da bhala, I hope our community will do everything we can to support the people of Japan in these trying times.

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15 Responses to “Japan in Crisis: What you can do”

  1. Sukh Bhandal says:

    Prayers and thoughts go to the people of Japan. Please can we do all that we can to help these innocent people.

  2. Bostonvala says:

    WSC-AR just sent out this appeal. There is commitment that money will only be given to organization that has a track record of transparency of how funds are used.

    WSC-AR Launches Japan Aid Campaign:
    Urges Generous Contributions from Sikh Community

    Contact: Dr. Tarunjit Singh, Secretary General, WSC-AR, [email protected], Phone: 888-340-1702

    March 18, 2011

    In response to the recent suffering and devastation caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the island nation of Japan followed by continuing threat of leaking nuclear radiation, the World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) is coordinating a national fundraising Japan Aid Campaign to raise funds for providing relief and hope for those affected by this enormous tragedy.

    We appeal to Sikh Gurdwaras, organizations, and individuals to contribute generously to this effort by sending their tax-deductible financial contributions in US dollars payable to World Sikh Council – America Region while earmarking them for Japan Aid Campaign to:
    World Sikh Council – America Region
    P.O. Box 3635
    Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
    We especially call upon all Sikh Gurdwaras in the US to offer prayers of condolences and hope on Sunday, March 19, to collect community contributions, and to forward these contributions collectively to WSC-AR.

    Contributions from Sikh organizations and individuals are also solicited. Please contribute as much as you can to put your faith values into action. Sikhs have always responded to such global tragedies with prayers and assistance.

    Pooling the financial contributions from across the country will allow the Sikh community to make a significant national impact on the relief efforts.

    All funds contributed to this campaign will be donated to relief agencies providing direct relief to those affected by this tragedy. Major contributors will be acknowledged in public statements.

    The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) is a representative and elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions in the United States. Its members include 46 Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) and other Sikh institutions, across the nation. WSC-AR works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.

  3. brooklynwala says:

    I just heard about this organization as well, which seems like a good place to give your donations… The Japan Multicultural Relief Fund http://www.jprn.org/relieffund.html
    "Our goal is to provide aid to those who can be neglected and underrepresented in receiving disaster aids from the Japanese government or mainstream NPOs. At this moment, with our colleagues in Japan, we are carefully undergoing an assessment to determine the recipient organizations in Japan that that serve these vulnerable people and communities in the disaster-struck regions."

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