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Japan earthquake: How to help

Several organizations are helping victims of the Japanese quake. Here's how you can help:

  • The American Red Cross. Using your cell phone, you can text-message donations of $10 to the agency. Text the letters REDCROSS to 90999 to make the $10 donation, or visit the organization's website.
  • The International Medical Corps is putting together relief teams, as well as supplies. The organization is in "contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities,” said Nancy Aossey, IMC president, on its website. You can donate here. Or, you can text MED to 80888 to donate $10 to emergency relief efforts.
  • Save the Children is accepting donations for its Children's Emergency Fund. "We are extremely concerned for the welfare of children and their families who have been affected by the disaster. We stand ready to meet the needs of children who are always the most vulnerable in a disaster,' said Eiichi Sadamatsu of the organization in a statement. You can also text “JAPAN” or “TSUNAMI” to 20222 to donate $10.
  • GlobalGiving, based in Washington, D.C., is providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Text JAPAN to 50555 to donate $10.
  • The Salvation Army, which has had a presence in Japan since 1895. In Tokyo, the Salvation Army "opened its main building to help shelter commuters who were unable to reach home. They served hot drinks and packed meals," said a spokesperson. You can text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts.
  • Mercy Corps  is "accepting donations to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami through our longstanding partner, Peace Winds Japan." Donations will go to meeting the "immediate and longer-term needs of the survivors," a spokesperson said. You can text “MERCY” to 25383 to donate $10.
  • World Vision, with a staff of 75 in Japan, is a Christian humanitarian organization focused on easing the emotional and psychological stress that children face during disasters. Visit the website to donate, or call 1-888-562-4453. You can text “4JAPAN” or “4TSUNAMI” to 20222 to donate $10.
  • Doctors Without Borders, an international group, already has teams working in Japan. The groups notes it is "drawing on unrestricted donations" given to it to fund its efforts, and "we are not accepting donations specifically earmarked for the recovery efforts in Japan. We greatly appreciate your generosity and encourage your support of our work. We will continue to post updates on our homepage, Facebook and Twitter as new information becomes available." To donate, call 1-888-392-0392.
  • Habitat for Humanity; donations accepted at website, or phone donations can be made by calling 1-800-HABITAT.
  • The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is raising funds to help children in Japan. Donations accepted at website, or by calling 1-800-367-5437.
  • AmeriCares has dispatched a disaster relief expert to the region to assess the health care needs and is prepared to send medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid as necessary. Phone number for donations: 203-658-9500.
  • International Rescue Committee, based in New York; Phone donations to: 1-877-733-8433. The organization is "dispatching IRC relief experts from our Thailand program to Japan to see how we can assist Japanese authorities in responding to the earthquake/tsunami disaster. We recognize Japan’s significant emergency response expertise, but will offer direct technical assistance and other emergency support."
  • Baptist World Alliance/Baptist World Aid. To donated by phone, call 703-790-8980.
  • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a humanitarian assistance organization that also helped in Haiti and in countries affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami. The relief group "worked in Japan before the American entrance into World War II when the organization helped support Jewish refugees — including renowned religious leaders and yeshiva scholars — in Kobe, Japan who fled Hitler’s Europe. Today, several thousand Jews live and work in Japan." Phone: 212-687-6200.
  • Catholic Relief Services is "providing assistance through our sister agency, Caritas Japan. CRS has programs in the Philippines and Indonesia and works with Caritas Oceania that is active in numerous islands in the Pacific that might be affected." For donations by phone, call 1-800-736-3467 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency can be reached at 1-800-424-2372, or text the word SUPPORT to 85944 to make a donation.
  • Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, based in San Dimas, Calif., "has activated its Disaster Coordination Center in Tokyo ... Right now, Tzu Chi offices in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan sustained minor damages," but the two offices are open as service centers. To donate by phone, call 1-888-989-8244.

There are several animal rescue groups that are also involved. Among them:

And various other efforts are underway:

  • The mGive Foundation, which helps with mobile donations, said these groups are also accepting text-based donations: Convoy of Hope, text TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10; World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals, text WAVE to 50555 to donate $10. "When prompted, mobile donors should reply with YES to confirm a one-time gift," the foundation says. "The $10 one-time donation will appear on the donor’s next mobile bill. All donations are tax deductible and receipts may be printed" from the mGive site. "Message and data rates may apply."
  • Facebook has a Disaster Relief page with lots of good information about organizations that are offering aid, and that you can help, in turn.
  • Microsoft has a Disaster Response Effort underway. "We are taking a number of steps, including ensuring the safety of our employees and their families and proactively offering customers, partners and local response agencies technical support to help ensure business continuity," the company said. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

To help you make decisions about donations, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance offers tips on "Giving to Earthquake Relief Efforts in Japan." And another good website to check is Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization that has information on more than 5,000 charities and evaluates the groups' financial health.

And while giving is good, beware of those out there who are not good and are trying to scam you by taking your money over the Internet and using e-mail. For more information, read "Tips to avoid Japanese earthquake phishing scams."