Northwest relief organizations sending aid to Japan


by Lorna Rodriguez and Tonya Mosley / KING 5 NEWS

Posted on March 11, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 11 at 7:31 PM

SEATTLE-- Various Northwest-based relief organizations are mobilizing to help victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

World Vision, based in Federal Way, Wash., is working closely with authorities in Tokyo, asking what kind of resources they can provide.

(KING 5, NWCN, The American Red Cross and U.S. Bank have activated "Disaster in Japan: Northwest Response." You can find more information on how to donate here.)

“Something this large is not something that people would have experienced before, so it’s a completely new experience,” World Vision Senior Director Rachel Wolff, who grew up in Japan said. “Certainly even in Tokyo people have been very frightened.”

However, World Vision is not solely focusing its relief efforts to Japan. The organization is also sending aid to the Philippines and Indonesia.

“When you have a country with building codes like Japan, then you have to quickly turn to other countries in the region which are much less prepared, and that’s where we’re also turning our eyes to today,” Wolff said.

Donations to World Vision's disaster response fund can be made at its website.

Other Seattle area relief agencies are also on standby.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Christopher Tompkins, head of the International Medical Assistance Team in Everett.

Tompkins and six other doctors, nurses and paramedics are waiting for word from Japan on whether their assistance will be needed.

"It looks like we will be needed," Tompkins said. "In what capacity we aren't sure, but we're ready."

Other agencies are mobilizing financially, by setting up websites and text messaging for people to make donations to the relief efforts. You can text the word "JAPAN" or "QUAKE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army. The donation will appear on your phone bill.

"Right now the best way to help is financially," said Bev Walker with the American Red Cross of Snohomish County.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is also waiting, ready to fly and offer supplies or other assistance.

Watch for scams

There are also those who would use this disaster to take advantage of people who want to help.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed says make sure a charity is reputable before you donate. You can check his office's website to see if a charity group is registered with the Secretary of State.

Relief agency links

World Vision:

Mercy Corps Partnering with Peace Winds Japan:

American Red Cross:

International Medical Assistance Team: