Aid And Fundraising Model For Tsunami Relief

The massive $6.5 billion in aid that was collected as Japanese tsunami relief and helped 930,000 affected people is now considered a model case of disaster fundraising. This was done in just one year since March 11, 2011 when a 9.0 undersea quake 80 miles from Honshu set off tsunami waves that drowned the northern coast. It killed almost 16,000 people and around 3,500 are still missing.

The deadly force totaled 129,000 buildings. It was too much even for Japan, a developed nation with strong infrastructure and support networks. The only reason the country did not descend into complete chaos is because the world stepped in to help with an unprecedented amount of aid.

The American Red Cross was flooded with donations worth $312 million which were effectively used to help the 316,000 survivors in the affected area. They were provided with temporary housing, four makeshift hospitals and another permanent one. The Red Cross in Japan helped 87,000 people with health services.

The US government stepped in with aid in cash and kind. Operation Tomodachi was the biggest humanitarian relief effort in modern history by the United States. A total of 140 military aircraft, 20 navy ships and 20,000 armed forces personnel were deployed to rescue, rebuild and help with aid distribution.

Private organizations took in money through any means possible and funneled it through to aid workers and affected people on the ground. CARE collected over $5 million and reached 37,658 people. Global Giving collected nearly half a million in micro-donations from over 31,600 donors, many of whom paid using mobile phones, PayPal and credit cards.

The volume of online micro-donations was bigger than ever before because of the desperate need for Japanese tsunami relief. It was first deployed as a serious fundraising tool after the Haiti quake and showed how effective it can be in Japan. It is now clear that mobile phones, twitter and a variety of other online mediums can be used for large-scale disaster fundraising.

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