The Salvation Army in Korea has acted. It set up depots throughout Seoul to collect money for relief efforts. Lim Hun-taek, secretary for personnel, said it was the first time in 83 years the organization went to the streets to collect donations during the non-Christmas season.
Korean netizens have been raising funds and offering condolences. A fundraising effort to help Japanese and Korean-Japanese has been under way since March 13 at a bulletin board on Daum. A group titled “Korean Netizens Will Help Relieve Our Neighbors’
Suffering,” has seen a steady stream of comments offering condolences and financial support. Expats in Korea, too, have been quick to offer assistance.
Sean Maylone, a music promoter in Seoul, brought together efforts to help Japan’s Tohoku region.
“The scope of the tragedy is just too much to get a grip on. An entire country - the three big worries, of the nuclear problem, the water, the earthquake - has a million other concerns involving food, cold, homes, the economy,” said Maylone.
Maylon made the Facebook group “Red Cross Drive for Japan” to “preempt” fundraisers that ultimately distract from relief efforts and even deflect funds from those who need them. “I made that event page on facebook in preliminary action against anyone trying to drum up attention or business for themselves with benefits etc.,” he said. Maylone is “trying to short circuit all of that to keep it simply about the effort.”
In Japan, the organization Second Harvest Japan is accepting donations of certain supplies and food. Items in urgent need, according to its website (2hj.org), include bottled water, coffee, canned and instant food, electric water pots, metal gas cans, rice, sleeping bags, over-the-counter medicines, powdered milk, tea, tents, and toilet paper.
Kevin Maher, a 40-year-old American living in Niigata Prefecture, told Groove Korea that a financial donation would be the best way to help from overseas. “The best way to help out would be to raise money or create awareness that it is needed. I think there are many people on the ground actively trying to do things, but I am not sure if there is enough money for it. Additionally, in Niigata, there are so many evacuees that need to be fed and sheltered properly,” said the university lecturer.
Maher said the expat community is staying put for the most part, and that foreign journalists are blowing the “foreign flight” out of proportion. “Most expats that I know, feel they have a lot to lose by leaving … most are sticking it out. But some are not, and seem to be the ones being interviewed by international media. Generally though, in my opinion, I know significantly more sticking it out, and just a few who are leaving.” Posttraumatic stress from the deadly earthquake has continued to haunt many that were close to the epicenter. The aftershocks, according to Maher, were hard to handle. “It hasn’t been recorded on the international news how much the aftershocks effect a person, but you have a strong sense of a loss of equilibrium, and constantly questioning if the earth is moving now or just imagining it,” said Maher, who has a 2-year-old son. “It seems that money and fundraising for money seems to be key. I think there are many organizations who want to help, but not enough money for all of the things they need to do at this time.”
To donate money to relief efforts funded by the Red Cross of Korea (http://www.redcross.or.kr/) at an AT M, hit “account transfer” and enter any of these accounts:
* Shinhan Bank 561-001-9817204-8
* Korea Exchange Bank 900-185887-803
* Woori Bank 1005-899-020202
* Kookmin Bank9-010-001-0001
* Shinhan 140-009-177631
* Nonghyup 301-0077-4329-11
* Hana Bank 101-100410-04604
To donate money to Korea Disaster Relief, which will reroute donations to Japan, transfer funds to their Nonghyup account: 106906-64-013414. Their KEB account number is 900-185887-803.
Child Fund Korea has also been collecting money.
Transfer donations to their account at the Industrial Bank of Korea: 035-100410-01-947.
To donate to Korea Disaster Relief, call 060-701-1004 and 2,000 won ($1.80) will automatically be charged to your phone bill.
To donate money by phone to Child Fund Korea, call 060-700-1580. Each call will donate 3,000 won, which will be charged to your phone bill.
To donate money to Child Fund Korea by text message, send a message to #5004. Each message will donate 2,000 won.
Second Harvest Japan
Supplies can be sent to: Second Harvest Japan Disaster Relief Food Drive Mizuta bldg 1F Asakusabashi 4-5-1, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0053
The Japanese Red Cross
Supplies can be sent to: The Japan Emergency Team; 3-3-7 Kokubun Cho, Aoba Ku, Sendai Shi, Miyagi Ken, Japan 980-8671
By Matthew Lamers