Japan EQ: What can I do? part 1 things to avoid

Intentions are very important. Many people have good hearts out there – so lets just put this to good use!
I have a few bit of information to share - starting with  PART 1 - Things to avoid

1. Overreaction: causing panic does not help.
Try to get and share balanced fact based information.
If someone in Japan shares headline like “Japan destroyed by EQ” it is misleading and only serves to scare our family and friends back home. We are all in emotional pain Yes and are hurt emotionally by this but honestly few people in Tokyo were actually hurt. We need to focus on the specific problems.
I know several people have decided to leave Japan or leave Tokyo and that is fine, everyone has to make their own decision about what to do.
By all means DO share information about what is happening but do not panic other people.



2. Running to the affected area: Taking physical action without a clear purpose.
Please do not to hop in a car or bus to get to the affected area unless you are going to a specific place with a particular group with a particular mandate. During the Niigata EQ wanna-be volunteers showed up in different places in the prefecture individually expected NGOs or Government officials to pick them up. This caused a lot of problems. Until things are considered more stable, please do not overcrowd the transportation and disaster relief routes.
Right now money donations and local action are considered to be the best ways you can help.


3. Sending random items to random places
There are things that groups need and we will start sharing info on who needs what soon - as it comes in.
We want to make sure our actions have an impact and help someone so we should send particular items to specific groups helping people.
Let me share a real story: During the Niigata EQ 1 Japanese woman thought it would be helpful to send some tampons to as it is the one of items usually forgotten in emergency relief kits and women’s rarely feel they can complain about this. After buying a box of 8, she sent to the Niigata city post office. Who knows where this box of 8 went?
Usual items needed: non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, tampons, diapers and medical supplies. These things we can start collecting now – but wait before sending them! Know the specific requests: for example medicines will often not be distributed if the packaging is open, or specific clothing might be useful. Maybe they will only accept NEW clothing – we should respect the dignity of people in need and not send junk.
Get the facts and send what groups need.

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