Disaster Relief: How to Help From Inside Japan

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Soldiers pull a boat across floodwater as they help to evacuate residents of Tagajo city

JIJI PRESS / AFP / Getty Images

We understand the urge to head north to help, but there are many ways you can have your hand in recovery right from where you are.

Here are four things you can do:  Donate blood, cut down your power usage, contribute to relief funds, and help locate people.

1. Donate Blood

The Japanese Red Cross has issued a list of guidelines for blood donation, translated by Roy Berman of Mutant Frog Travelogue. TimeOut Tokyo provides a list of twelve donation stations across the capital. However, Japan’s guidelines are strict, meaning some foreigners will not be able to donate.

2. Use Less Power

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano requests that people in Japan use as little electricity as possible. Electricity spikes are threatening blackouts in Tokyo, prompting officials to ask residents to switch off unnecessary appliances and unplug power-draining devices.

(More on TIME.com: See photos of the immense destruction in Japan)

3. Donate

These groups have set up fund-raising sites specifically for victims of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. For more information on the charities’ fund allocations and administrative costs, check out the GuideStar database or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

AMERICAN RED CROSS — Donations can be made directly on its Web site.

CARE — One of the world’s largest private international humanitarian organizations.

GLOBALGIVING.ORG — GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to disburse funds to organizations providing relief and emergency services.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS — Information is available on the organization’s Web site.

THE SALVATION ARMY — The Salvation Army has been providing food and shelter to Tokyo commuters who were stranded when public transportation was interrupted by the earthquake. They will also send a team to Sendai, a city about 250 miles from Tokyo, to assess the situation there. Donations can also be made on the organization’s website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

SAVE THE CHILDREN — To make a donation, visit Save the Children’s Web site, or call 1-800-728-3843.

SHELTERBOXUSA.ORG — ShelterboxUSA.org is a disaster-relief organization that focuses on providing survival materials such as tents and cooking equipment to families displaced by disasters.

UJA-FEDERATION OF NEW YORK — Information is available on the organization’s Web site or by calling 1-212-836-1486.

WORLD VISION — World Vision will provide relief supplies and psycho-social support for children.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY — See details on their site.

4. Locate Trapped People

Ushahidi, a crowd-sourced mapping tool, has set up a local platform for Japan that allows you to text the location of people who may be trapped in damaged buildings. Google also launched a people finder for those looking for loved ones.

(via TimeOut Tokyo and The New York Times)

(More on TIME.com: See the grim situation in Japan’s northeast)

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