What is happening in Japan is beyond sad and yet if any country has the power to rise from the sea of devastation, it is them.
Japan has three of the best attributes as a nation. Wealth, technology and motivation according to New York Times columnist for Dot Earth, Andrew Revkin. Many countries have one or two of these attributes but what most are missing is the vital one that Japan has so much of – Motivation.
After the 1923 earthquake in Japan, which killed more than 145,000 people, the country learned form the tragedy and invested in buildings, in science and in rebuilding Tokyo into a world class city.
I cannot think of another nation more equipped to deal with the tragedy unfolding before the world. I see the different attributes coming forth in cultures when devastation hits. Australians show almost ignorant bravery in floods and fires. I was stunned when I listened to audio footage of trapped New Zealanders in the Christchurch earthquake recently. Their politeness and patience when waiting to be rescued was not something I would have heard in other countries.
At the other end of the spectrum is the acceptance of the Haitian people of the dire situation after the earthquake that hit their country recently. It is somewhat indicative of the world’s acceptance of third world living situations that has meant that help has been less for them than any other country. Haiti seems so far away and so foreign to so many. It is sad that the people of Haiti don’t ask for more and sadder still that we don’t offer more.
I think back to Hurricane Katrina and the issues that arose from that for the United States. the blame and the drama. The tragedy and the lack of motivation from people in power who should have known better. The United States had the wealth and the technology but not the motivation to help some of the worst affected and poorest people in America.
Perhaps this is the ultimate issue. Motivation is everything as a person and for a country. The collective will get more done. Japan has proven this over and over as a nation. the desire to self imporve as individuals, to always be at their best, look their best and do better is what I admire.
So while Japan reasseses, deals with the trauma and the shock, do what you can form here. Prayers are fine but money is better. Give up the extra coffee for a week put down the read handbag, you already have one and give the money to a cause that is already on the ground.
And throw some coin in for Haiti while you donate.
Save The Children: Mobilising to provide immediate humanitarian relief in the shape of emergency health care and provision of non-food items and shelter. Call 1800 76 00 11 or visit http://www.savethechildren.org.au
Red Cross: Donors can contribute to the relief efforts by calling 800-733-27677 or visiting http://www.redcross.org. Each text message is a $10 donation to the Red Cross, which will be added to the donors’ next cellphone bill.
Mercy Corps: Mercy Corp has not sent its own team to Japan but it set up a donation fund for its partner, Peace Winds Japan, and its emergency assistance on the ground. To make a donation, call 888-747-7440 or visit http://www.mercycorps.org/donate/japan.
Medical Teams International: Medical Teams International is also on alert and staying closely in touch with its nine partners along the coast and in Japan. To donate to Medical Teams International, visit http://www.medicalteams.org.
World Vision Canada: World Vision is among the first organisations to begin relief work by distributing emergency supplies and sending highly-trained staff to assess and respond to the most urgent needs. To donate, visit http://www.worldvision.ca/give-a-gift/Pages/Pacific-Tsunami.aspx
Medecins Sans Frontiers: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 60 countries. MSF workers are already on ground in Japan, assessing the situation. For more visit http://www.msf.org/msf/donations/donations_home.cfm
DFAT: Assistance helpline: +61 2 6261 3305. DFAT hotline for Australians concerned about family and friends: 1300 555 135. Visit http://www.dfat.gov.au/