March 15th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Do more than #PrayForJapan

AFP/Getty Images

It seems the scale of the disaster in Japan grows each day. The official death toll has now passed 3,000. Police have doubled the number of people counted as missing to nearly 7,000. Rescuers and survivors are struggling with temperatures below freezing. And problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant threaten to make the situation much, much worse. 

A Red Cross spokesman says resources are stretched to the max. The aid agency is one of several accepting donations via text message. It is meant to make giving easier.

But there may be a downside to convenience. Some philanthropy analysts say a heavy reliance on digital donations is a factor behind the low dollar amount raised so far.

It is still early. Yet I wonder if a bit of slacktivism is also at play here. People all across the globe are showing they care by posting #PrayForJapan on Twitter. How many have done more than tweet?

There is also the possibility that people feel Japan can take care of itself. After all, it is one of the world's biggest economies. But even the U.S. took offers of international aid after Hurricane Katrina.

Japan's government gave $1 million in cash and supplies to the American Red Cross after that storm. Japanese citizens and corporations pledged millions more.

Japan was among the top donor nations following the 2004 Asian tsunami, offering $500 million in aid. And the U.N. says Japan has come through with most of the $100 million pledged to Haiti. It is still waiting on some countries to open their wallets at all.

So while it is nice to #PrayForJapan, just don't forget that actions speak louder than words. Find out how to help victims of this disaster, or other causes you care about, at cnn.com/impact. You'll find a list of vetted charities and organizations making a difference.

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Filed under: General • Personal musings • Technology
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Norma E. Loe

    I do not want to give to the Red Cross. My husband was in WWII and he would never let me donate any of his money to the Red Cross. What are other organizations with whom I could donate?

    March 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  2. Frederica

    It's time we in rich nations should cut back everything from food to energy. In an attempt to save economy, everyone will lose life and the future of our children. A sheer stupidity of mankind.

    March 30, 2011 at 1:59 am | Reply
  3. beryl

    It will be great if people could give out a hand to the abandoned pets and animals under this crisis~ I had donated to both PETA and WSPA, please act than just pray!

    March 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Reply

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