MAPAAC urges support for Japan Earthquake Relief effort

LANSING — The Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission is offering tips to citizens interested in providing financial support for relief efforts, in the wake of the March 11 8.9 Richter scale Japan earthquake and subsequent Pacific tsunami.

The commission, which is housed in the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG), recommends the following:

American Red Cross – has started a relief fund to help the victims of the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami. People can donate money on the American Red Cross’ website, www.redcross.org, or $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999. The Red Cross said all service charges will be waived.

AmeriCares – has an emergency team on full alert mobilizing resources and has dispatched a disaster relief expert to the region to assess the health care needs. The group is prepared to send medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid as necessary. For more information, go to www.AmeriCares.org. The organization has a donation phone 1-800-486-HELP (4357).

USAid – is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. The agency’s website, www.usaid.gov, has a link to a variety of non-profits including Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.

“The devastation of the earthquake and tsunami is almost incomprehensible,” said DELEG Director Steven H. Hilfinger. “Financial contributions are really the best option at this point in disaster relief to help these organizations mobilize their resources and get people the most basic resources in life: food, water, shelter and health care.”

Donors are also being alerted by the Better Business Bureau to ensure the organization they are donating to is reputable because fraudulent charities often crop up to take advantage of their sympathy for victims. The BBB said the best way to help is to donate money to a reputable humanitarian organization. For tips from the Michigan BBB visit detroit.bbb.org/article/donor-alert-giving-to-pacific-tsunami-and-japanese-earthquake-victims-26002.

The U.S. government is advising citizens to avoid travel to Japan due to the potential of aftershocks and additional tsunamis and other conditions. For updates on how to communicate with a loved one in Japan and updates on the emergency situation please visit www.travel.state.gov.

For more information about DELEG, please visit www.michigan.gov/deleg.  Follow DELEG at twitter.com/MIDELEG , visit the “DELEG” page on Facebook and Become a Fan or visit the Michigan Government channel on YouTube at www.youtube.com/michigangovernment.