We have watched for days as details of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami unfold and we have been shocked at the calm nature of an entire nation despite total devastation. Last night on CNN however, one woman told a translator that people say she’s so lucky that she survived but given that her husband, children, home, neighborhood and country were gone, she wasn’t convinced that survival was the best thing that could happen to her.
The home I grew up in burnt down just before I left for college and there is a distinct emptiness and hopelessness you feel when you stand in front of everything you own after it has been reduced to rubble and stands before you in a pile of blackness.
Many Japanese don’t get the closure of seeing that pile, their homes have been swept out to sea along with their loved ones, leaving many to ask how rebuilding even begins. Houses are on top of schools and hospitals, buses are on top of those houses, debris blocks every street and it seems all to overwhelming as to where to begin.
The Red Cross and international military have arrived on the scene to help with the basic survival of the population as rolling blackouts continue, food and potable water are scarce, and evacuations continue with the threat of a possible failure of a nuclear reactor.
But what about rebuilding? What about the long haul? Feeding a population is critical, but what happens next? Several organizations will be staying in Japan to begin the rebuilding efforts like Architecture For Humanity (AFH) who has been working in disaster reconstruction for 12 years, having designed and constructed hundreds of schools, clinics, houses and other community facilities in areas like Haiti, India, Pakistan, Chile and even here at home in the US.
Today, AFH Executive Director Cameron Sinclair said, “On a grassroots level, the greatest impact we can make is to focus on specific small scale building projects for local community organizations. These ‘urban acupuncture’ projects create a ripple effect of social cohesion and change. As we raise more funds we will green light additional centers. It is our aim to raise $200,000 to build the first of these projects.”
Please consider giving to the following legitimate causes or to causes you are involved or familiar with:
- Architecture For Humanity
- Doctors Without Borders
- Salvation Army
- Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 (or to 30333 in Canada)
- Signalnoise is selling the now famous “Help Japan” poster (sold out but shipping again soon) and t-shirts with 100% of proceeds going to the Red Cross (he is a reputable designer, we trust his claims).
In related news, Verizon, AT&T and Vonage are offering free calls to Japan. Please pray for those in Japan, in other nations impacted by the earthquake, and those set out to help rebuild.