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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Red Cross Responds to Disasters in Japan

Red Cross responding to aftermath of disasters in Japan

Authorities estimate at least 370,000 people have been evacuated or displaced from their homes in Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Many of them have evacuated to the 2,000 shelters operated by the government and supported by the Japanese Red Cross. Local Red Cross volunteers in Japan have handed out more than 46,000 blankets so far and nearly 28,000 more have been sent to the affected area for further distribution.

A disaster expert from the American Red Cross arrived today in Toyko to serve on a seven-person, international team focused on providing high-level support and advice to the Japanese Red Cross following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Within days, she will conduct assessments from some of the hardest hit areas in the north.

Given widespread damage and enormous humanitarian needs, the Japanese Red Cross indicated that it would accept financial support from the American Red Cross for its role providing first aid, emotional support and relief items to those displaced.

The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with two million volunteers nationwide. It has deployed 95 medical teams, made up of more than 700 people, including doctors and nurses, to aid in the recovery effort.

In California, communities are beginning recovery from tsunamis in Crescent City and Santa Cruz, where docks and boats were destroyed in minutes. At the peak of the tsunami, nearly 350 people in Crescent City were evacuated to Red Cross shelters.


Individuals can assist the Red Cross response effort, both internationally and locally, by making a financial donation in a variety of ways:

· All of Redwood Credit Union’s branches are now accepting donations from members and the public to assist the Red Cross response effort in Japan.

· secure online sites: or

· by phone: (707) 577-7600

· by texting REDCROSS to 90999; this enables donors to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

· by U.S. mail to: American Red Cross, Sonoma, Mendocino, & Lake Counties, 5297 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

Red Cross encourages residents to take this opportunity to check their own disaster preparedness. Important suggestions include:

· Immediately after an earthquake, shut off gas if there is a leak or fire.

· Strap down large furniture.

· Make a preparedness plan and rehearse it with family members.

· A U.S. government publication, “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country,” provides extensive advice.

· A full 16-week plan is available online at
Additional resources include the online Red Cross store ( and the Red Cross store in Santa Rosa, located on 5297 Aero Drive, both of which offer first aid kits, emergency radios, emergency preparedness kits and much more.

American Red Cross is a neutral, humanitarian organization that provides relief to victims of disasters, and prepares people to prevent and respond to emergencies. Like all Red Cross chapters, local chapters are self-sustaining and funded by local contributions. All assistance to disaster victims and to members of the armed forces provided by the Chapter is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money by the American people.

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