relief organizations


Mercy Corps, World Vision and the nagging question of how to help in Japan | 

World Vision

World Vision in Japan, unloading relief supplies

The Japanese government and the UN agency coordinating humanitarian relief operations, in response to the March 11 quake and tsunami, have repeatedly asked that many foreign organizations refrain from trying to actively assist in the relief efforts.

Is this falling on deaf, if well-intentioned, ears? Or is it a request made to disguise the government’s inability to adequately respond?

I can’t tell.

The request by Japanese and UN officials may appear counter-intuitive, but it’s not too hard to understand upon further reflection. There is limited access on the roads and fuel shortages. The government and in-country assistance organizations need to have priority access. Continue reading

Update: Does Japan need/want international relief assistance now? | 

Odd as it may seem, that’s a big question right now within the aid and development community.

By a simple measure of the number of news stories and organizational appeals out there, clearly the answer is: Yes, people should donate to disaster relief in Japan.

Perhaps the most blunt argument answering the question in the negative has come from Felix Salmon, economics columnist for Reuters, who said simply: Don’t Donate Money to Japan.

I’ve posted on this debate a few times, including an anonymous post from an aid worker decrying the “ugly game” of fund-raising around the Japan quake-tsunami disaster. Continue reading