The Japanese earthquake and tsunami have caused incalculable damage and devastation, leaving many wondering what they can do to help.

The following is a list of organizations, services and charities designed to quickly bring aid to those who need it in the aftermath of the disaster. If you notice that an organization was left off this list, please post as much information in the comments section as possible.

The American Red Cross

The Red Cross immediately set up a disaster fund for the victims of the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami. By going to this link, you can quickly fill out a form that accepts all major credit cards and gives you all the paperwork for tax deductions. The minimum donation for the Red Cross is $10. The site also has links to other disaster funds, including the North Africa and Middle East Civil Unrest Fund and The Help for Family Members and Their Families Fund. People can also text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation from their cell phones to help those affected.

Animal programs

During terrible disasters, animal rescue efforts are often overlooked. Several groups have stepped up to specifically focus on animals. Animal Refuge Kansai, the Japan Cat Network, the Search Dog Foundation, World Vets and PayPal have all made specific efforts for dealing with animals displaced by the disaster. Petcaptain.com has a page, which is devoted for directing donations to these charities, and it can be viewed by clicking here. Another organization, “Dog Bless You,” has gotten some attention thanks to reports out of the South by Southwest music conference in Austin. The rescue dog organization, which is affiliated with the SearchDogFoundation.org, has teamed up with the Annenberg Foundation. Annenberg will donate $100,000 to the Search Dog Foundation if 100,000 people “like” it on Facebook.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

In the hours after the quake, the organization that brings highly skilled medical care to the most devastated parts of the world sprung into action. The team quickly expanded its presence in Japan to 10 people working in Miyagi Prefecture with more on the way. “On Sunday, we conducted mobile clinics and assessments in two evacuation centers,” said Mikiko Dotsu, the coordinator of the MSF team. “It appears that medical needs are increasing in evacuation centers.” A donation to the organization can be made in several different forms by visiting their donation website.

Save the Children

Right after the quake struck, Save the Children launched an emergency fund designed to support the children whose families who were affected by the earthquake. Donations of any amount can be made by going to this link. In 2009, 90 percent of donations made to Save the Children went directly to program services around the world. The organization used just 4 percent of its donations for organizational expenditures and the other 6 percent went to fundraising operations.

 

The Salvation Army

The organization with the motto “Doing the most good” has sent a team to directly aid the devastated city of Sendai. The Salvation Army has set up five systems for accepting donations. It will take donations online here, and has also set up a text-donation system where you can give $10 by simply texting “QUAKE” or “JAPAN” to 80888. You can also call the organization at 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or you can donate the old-fashioned way, by slipping a check in the mail marked “Japan earthquake relief” to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301-0959.

International Medical Corps

Since 1984, the International Medical Corps has dedicated itself to relieving suffering through health care training and relief efforts. As soon as the earthquake and tsunami struck in Japan, the organization set up a specific relief fund. You can make your donation to IMC online by going to this link; or by texting "MED" to 80888.

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps sprung into action by setting up a relief fund through its partner, Peace Winds. Donations made to the organization’s Japan relief fund will be focused not just on the immediate relief efforts, but also long-term recovery needs, which jibes with the mission of the organization. Donations can be made by visiting this website.

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

Globalgiving.org has set up a donation fund that disperses all donations to on-the-ground efforts run by International Medical Corps, Save the Children and several others. The site makes it easy to give; all you have to do is go to this site and have your major credit card ready.

Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based relief organization that describes itself as a “first responder organization." The organization was one of the first groups to help last year during the Haiti earthquake, and this time around, the group has set up a text donation system. Simply enter "TSUNAMI" to 50555 and $10 will be given to the group’s response efforts.

 

Other helpful resources

Google has thrown its resources behind a service called People Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake. The service allows you to enter data about anyone in Japan who has been found, has been reported at a hospital or who remains missing. It is a helpful tool for anyone trying to get information about a missing loved one. Citizen Global, a crowd-sourcing media organization, has set up a channel devoted specifically to the Japan earthquake. Videos and content can be viewed and uploaded to the channel here. InterAction, which calls itself the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations, offers a helpful page where you can learn about and support a variety of organizations offering relief in Japan. Also, if you find a charity that you are interested in donating to, but aren’t sure if it is legitimate, you can go to CharityNavigator.org to get all the information you need about a specific organization.

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