Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Japan.

Over the past few days, I've felt a deepening sense of sorrow as I've read reports of the aftermath of last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I've been told that Japan was ahead of most nations in its efforts to prepare for emergencies like this one; over the past few decades, considerable effort and ingenuity went into designing and building structures that could resist serious earthquakes, finding ways to try to help coastal areas withstand tidal waves, and trying to make nuclear reactors safe in the event of emergencies. Despite all of these carefully-laid plans - which, it must be said, have undoubtedly helped to save the lives of people who might otherwise have died in this tragedy - the worst fears of Japan's emergency planners seem to have been realized.

Whenever we confront major humanitarian crises - whether they take place far from where we live or in our own backyards - we may be tempted to lose hope. We might think to ourselves, "There's nothing I can do about a disaster so large, so why should I even try?" Of course, we can always do something: our individual efforts to respond to major disasters may seem small, but even the smallest effort can make a positive difference.

One thing that readers of this blog can do to help the people of Japan is to offer financial support to humanitarian groups that are working to assist survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. One such group is Caritas Japan, an affiliate of the global Catholic relief agency Caritas Internationalis. Readers in the United States can help support the work of Caritas Japan by making targeted donations to the emergency relief fund of Catholic Relief Services. Readers around the world can also donate to Caritas Internationalis, specifying that one's donation be earmarked for earthquake relief in Japan.

Regardless of whether or not you are able to make a financial donation, I hope that you will at least join me in praying for the people of Japan in this time of great need. AMDG.


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