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Charities Use Social Media in Japan

Posted on March 14, 2011 in Social Media, News

Source: The Star

MONTREAL—Canadian web surfers are reaching into their pocket books to help with the relief effort in Japan.

The Canadian Red Cross says online tools like Twitter and Facebook have increased awareness of the disaster and encouraged people to donate.

Karen Snider, media manager for the humanitarian organization, said donations via text message received a major boost after the instructions were re-posted by an army of supporters on Twitter.

“This has been so exciting for us,” she said in an interview on Sunday.

“What’s amazing is how passionate people in the online community are about world issues.”

The group has already raised about $1 million since it began accepting donations on Friday and it has a team of local volunteers assisting with the emergency response.

Four other charities — CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Quebec and Save the Children Canada — have formed a group called The Humanitarian Coalition and began accepting donations Saturday.

The group said that while the Japanese government appears well prepared to respond to the earthquake and tsunami, Canadians also want to help.

“From our estimation, it’s clear that there is an interest and a desire to support any way they can,” said Alexandra Lopoukhine, spokeswoman for Care Canada.

Doctors without Borders said it hasn’t decided whether to set up a program in Japan, although it already has a 10-person team on the ground.

“If there is enough medical needs, we will start a medical program,” said spokesman Gregory Vandendaelen.

Vandendaelen said the charity is using money from its emergency fund to assess the situation. That fund is open to donations.

The team in Japan said in a statement Sunday the situation remains difficult for the survivors of the disaster, with large swaths still without water or electricity.

“It appears that medical needs are increasing in evacuation centres,” said team coordinator Mikiko Dotsu.

The Salvation Army has allocated $75,000 to help in Japan, while other organizations such as World Vision Canada and UNICEF are accepting donations to their general relief funds.

Organizations such as UNICEF and the Canadian Red Cross have also set up programs to help those affected by the violence in Libya.

Despite the multiple crises unfolding across the globe, Canadian Red Cross spokeswoman Pam Aung Thin said they haven’t seen a case of donor fatigue.

“Canadians are generally very generous and we’re seeing that generosity,” she said. getting backlinks