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What is the best way for civilians in areas not affected by the quake and tsunami to help with the relief effort?

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Contact local officials to find out what organizations are actually helping with the relief effort, consider donating to those organizations.

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Inform your city office your willingness to offer help.

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The Marines are helping out. Those that have friends or relatives in the corps there can have blankets and basic supplies sent thru the local recruiting office. Just have marine's information handy. They will ship free if you have that information. Contact your marine first...

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You can donate blood, but bloody JT doesnt allow links ( you guys have gotta change this)

donate money although I prefer donating like blankets, water, tents, food and other USEFUL stuff.

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live frugally as you can for now, cut electricity usage, stay put if you can, buy what you need without hoarding.

Then once its settled a bit make the $$$ & material donation as appropriate, and if you see someone that needs help & you can help them, do so

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Don`t waste electricity !!!! Conserve power !!! Conserve water !!!!

It will take decades to restore Miyagi prefecture. The best way to help the civilians is to continue helping them in a varity of ways.

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go to city hall or your ward office and ask what they're doing. everyone is taking donations at the moment, and those that aren't yet will be by the end of today.

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Stop hoarding food and water! All the shops in Tokyo and Chiba are empty! However, beer and smokes seem to be in ample supply, which is a good thing!

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Stop watching CNN. Their information is panic driven that does more harm than good and by turning off the TV, you will save electricity. Double win.

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porter, I guess we are supposed to trust what the Japanese Government (NHK) is telling us? Personally, I am glad to have BBC and CNN.

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Is a money donation the only way one can assist those affected by this horrific tragedy if you live in a different country? If so, does anyone know which charity would be the most beneficial to donate to? The only one I can think of right now is Red Cross, and I'm not quite sure how much of the money will actually go to assisting Japan.

I'd really like to donate my blood or even supplies such as bottled water, but I'm not quite sure how I would go about to do so seeing how I live in the USA. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

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@Britt: I heard of Doctors without Borders to be a VERY VERY good one. But then again, im more for donating stuff instead of money. Money is corruptable.

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@Britt: then donate your blood, even if it's to be used in the US, it will definitely not be wasted. And surely, with the days to come there will be more and more ways to help Japan.

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"All the shops in Tokyo and Chiba are empty!"

Hyperbole, much?

Yes, some places have seen some hoarding. Others are fine. My 7-11 got at least 2 shipments yesterday, including bread, onigiri, and cup noodle and the shelves at the AEON were normal.

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Make your own flat bread in the fry pan. Please don't complain. Flour oil and yeast or baking powder. Tastier and healthier.

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Britt, about donating bottled water, by the time it gets shipped to Japan, and then up to wherever... I'm afraid shipments from the rest of the country will have more than filled the gap. And probably in large tanks, rather than little individual serving bottles.

It's hard to know of goods that can be efficently donated and distributed from such a distance in time for them to be needed. I'm trying to think of what people will need a month from now... And having a hard time. Work boots? Rubber boots? Blue tarps - so many uses!

I'd like to get up there in coming weeks and months to help individuals cleaning up, mucking out, etc.., but need to wait until the point at which I can be sure I won't be more of a burden on the infrastructure.

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The "Sendai Refuge Center", it is the converted city hall, 2 floors of medical care and 2 floors of housing (over 1,000 people). According to the city council they need. Bottled Water Food (Please make sure all items are non-perishable) All Types of Clothing from Infants to Older Generation (New or Used) (Sendai is also in an area that the weather is very cold) Coats/ Jackets (New or Used) Shoes (New or Used) Blankets and/or Linens

Check with your local city hall ( as others have said) to get your donations up there.

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Misawa AB in the Aomori Prefecture has alot of people collecting donations of food, clothing, and money to help people in Hachinohe who were affected by the Tsunami. I've signed up with the Red Cross in case they need help anywhere and am volunteering on the base starting tomorrow. Do whatever you can no matter how small! Share with your nieghbors whatever you can. It's time we all start commiting random acts of kindness!

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If I were living in the disaster area itself, the first thing to do would be to get together all the ex-military, and people with experience camping in extereme conditions. They would become the leaders. They would be in charge of creating tent cities. Then you could use buildings still in condition for supplies. Import or recruit a police department. Basically build a city of tents. Hopefully not to be needed for more than a short time. Then proceed to build real buildings where you can. The only reason I point this out is that many groups facing smaller versions of what you face have just left their people to be absorbed by the larger group, and this won't work in your case. Too many people. And I don't think you want the leftovers to just die off.

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Volunteer at the shelter. Some of these people have lost the loved ones or are missing. They need support. Best things for them is to open up and talk. Be a friend and stay with them. Post tramatic trama is real and detecting early signs are important.

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I have signed with Red cross Japan too. They wil soon update the English info they said. You don;t need to be experts to help in some areas. Sometimes, just helping out with cleaning, cooking in the shelters and just being there with the people helps so much. There are psychosocial issues as sfjp says.

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Donate your time - when you can !!!! Volunteer !!!!

I do not have alot of money and I will be unemployed next month because of the yearly contract thing in Japan. You know why !!! I'm considered part time but I work more than 8 hours, go figure !!! And my employer doesn't have unemployment benefits or coverage.

I suggest donate your time - and try to help the people with a smile or just offer what you can. Sometimes a HUG & ACTS OF KINDNESS is better than money.

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If only I were in Japan right now, I would definitely sign up to volunteer. As Japan is hit with a Triple at the same time, the scope of help needed is wide and great. Any helping hand, big or small, would definitely go a long long way in helping out anywhere, anything.

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this is my first time on here. I feel so uncomfortable living here and seeing life in unaffected areas continue as normal. Maybe the best way to help is appreciate everything I have to honor those that were left with nothing. Including the job I hate, and the daily things I complain about. I believe the victims of the quake would treasure what I threw away for dinner last night. I will change my attitude.

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