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Japan Earthquake - Donations & Goodwill

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  1. #11

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    I'm not naive enough to disregard the actual logistics of heading over there. Of course it would be a burden if someone simply headed over to Japan expecting to be fed and housed. But that's precisely the issue I'm trying to address. If it were so easily solved, then I'm sure someone would've done it by now. The typical response from most people is "Don't bother." That's the stagnant mentality I would prefer to avoid. Like I mentioned, perhaps there really is no way to accomplish this goal, but how many people have put in some real time to think about how to make it work? MikeLowrey says I would probably be a burden if I flew over. I agree. So what's the solution? To simply not go? To simply not think about it? If that's your type of mentality, I hope you are never caught in a similar disaster.

    The issue is how to do something without creating additional dependencies. This is a type of problem you can even see in a typical workplace. If rasbro could jump on a van, get to shelter, and offer some type of needed assistance on an individual basis, that just tells me there's potential for a more organized effort.

    I'm not trying to be an idealist that just talks. I'm looking to explore a problem and try to find solutions. It may very well come to a dead end, which is fine, but I haven't come across a lot of people that will put some serious thought into how it works. Basically, I'm trying to think like an entrepreneur in regards to trying to address a need.


  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    440
    Quote Originally Posted by nlsk:
    I'm not naive enough to disregard the actual logistics of heading over there. Of course it would be a burden if someone simply headed over to Japan expecting to be fed and housed. But that's precisely the issue I'm trying to address. If it were so easily solved, then I'm sure someone would've done it by now. The typical response from most people is "Don't bother." That's the stagnant mentality I would prefer to avoid. Like I mentioned, perhaps there really is no way to accomplish this goal, but how many people have put in some real time to think about how to make it work? MikeLowrey says I would probably be a burden if I flew over. I agree. So what's the solution? To simply not go? To simply not think about it? If that's your type of mentality, I hope you are never caught in a similar disaster.

    The issue is how to do something without creating additional dependencies. This is a type of problem you can even see in a typical workplace. If rasbro could jump on a van, get to shelter, and offer some type of needed assistance on an individual basis, that just tells me there's potential for a more organized effort.

    I'm not trying to be an idealist that just talks. I'm looking to explore a problem and try to find solutions. It may very well come to a dead end, which is fine, but I haven't come across a lot of people that will put some serious thought into how it works. Basically, I'm trying to think like an entrepreneur in regards to trying to address a need.
    Woah, slow down, tiger. No one is saying people should sit on their hands and do nothing. If you want to help, you can always donate money. The money you would have spent on plane tickets, accommodation (if you can find any), and all the other things would be better spent if you just donated it to organizations that know what to do with it. Be real, look at the cost and effect. How much help are you going to be able to provide realistically by spending $50k - $100k flying over to Japan and picking up garbage? Now look at how much the aids relief organizations can do with the same money.

    Also, how big is your suitcase and how much money are you willing to pay for excess baggage (again, silly money that goes to the airlines that could've gone towards the people who really needed it)? Can you even carry enough food and water for 2 weeks or however long you're planning to be over there? Can you be absolutely sure you're not going to be competing for resources with the people who are already there? If the radiation leaks intensify, are you willing to stay behind and let the residents be evacuated before you?

    If you really want to help, just donate money, that's how you maximize the effect of every dollar spent. If you want to play hero, feel good about yourself and do it for the experience so that you can have a good story to share at a dinner party then sure, go ahead. But please, save the "So what's the solution? To simply not go? To simply not think about it?" melodramatic speech for somewhere else. No one is buying it here.
    Last edited by MikeLowrey; 17-03-2011 at 03:00 AM.
    MovingIn07 likes this.

  3. #13

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    Jun 2010
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    No, you should not volunteer to go to Japan. They have military there doing so already. Most importantly, Fukushima prefecture's nuclear reactor is unstable so Japanese people are fleeing right now away from the wind's current.


  4. #14

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    Oct 2004
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    Midlevels / USA (MD) / London
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    The members of the Hong Kong Hackerspace are coordinating with the members of the Tokyo Hackerspace who are building a number of solar-powered LED lights. The HK group may head to Shenzhen on behalf of the HK hackers to assist in acquiring some parts necessary to build these lights.

    Here is the HK Hacker group:
    Login | Facebook

    And the Tokyo Hacker request:
    http://www.tokyohackerspace.org/en/japan-in-crisis (note they got overloaded bandwidth wise so the site has temporarily crashed)

    update: Here is the google group for them with the request list of parts they need:
    http://groups.google.com/group/tokyo...ce?hl=en&pli=1

    Last edited by penguinsix; 17-03-2011 at 10:25 AM.

  5. #15

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    Hung Hom
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    @mikelowrey

    There's plenty of debates about where your money actually goes and the effectiveness, so I won't go there.

    All your questions are valid.
    1. I don't need suitcases. If you have ever tried real backpacking/camping/etc, then you know you don't need much.
    2. I can't carry enough water/food for 2 weeks. It's a problem. Figure it out. That's what you do with problems.
    3. I can't guarantee I won't be a burden but there is probably a break-even point: The amount of help provided by a group of avg Joes vs. the resources required.
    4. There are other affected areas besides Fukushima.

    Your rhetoric doesn't bring anything to the table. This is an empty debate. I'm seeking real feedback - legal issues, logistics, operations of existing orgs, etc. Instead, you pose questions that have no real answers. How much would I be able to help? Who knows. Probably zero. But what if by chance I stumble on one person that I can actually save? Yes I have EMT experience so it might just be possible. Now is 100k worth it? Would it be worth it for a family member to house me for a few days if I saved their loved one? I prefer not to play the "what if" game.

    Even for expert search parties, do you even know their hit rate and how many lives they are able to save? With all the experience, tech, dogs, etc, they aren't pulling people (alive) out by the hundreds. It's a needle in a haystack. If it's not your cup of tea, that's fine. This isn't a tree-hugger movement. It's actually trying to think about how to help (aside from the 50 ways I can donate a dollar to organizations).

    I'll cap it here for myself. This isn't the place for a debate. I just wanted to find additional information on how to help.


  6. #16

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    2

    Look, nlsk, I think people are too harsh, but you are being overly optimistic that your help would add more in Japan than you can in HK. You have to consider what the "needs" are right now in Japan. All you can offer is labor. They have labor. They don't need labor. They need materials, supplies, support, not extra hands.

    Have you considered it is better to spend your time in HK helping gather supplies? Volunteer to contact possible donors of equipment, food, tents. Help organize the logistics of getting it there. You can do all this in Hong Kong and I guarantee you your impact will be much higher than if you went to Japan.

    I admire your intentions, but going to Japan is just such an inefficient use of your time. You don't need to be digging through rubble to be actually helping. In fact, if you can help get donors to donate 10 tents, I would venture that it will be much more helpful than you going to Japan.


  7. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    2

    BTW I want to correct a common misconception that donating to big charities is a waste of money because they have lots of administrative and organizational costs.

    What people fail to recognize is that LOGISTICS is the most important thingafter a disaster. It's usually not a lack of food or shelter that kills people. It's the difficulty getting those things to the people who need them.

    When you contribute to small charities, yes they don't have the administrative costs of a big organization, but they also don't have any infrastructure to get the help to where it is needed. As a little example, if you donate $10 to red cross, they spend $2 on administration and $8 goes to tents. But at least those tents will get to people who can use it. If you donate $10 to a small charity, they will buy $10 of tents which will sit at the airport. In a disaster zone, smaller charities simply do not have the capability to DELIVER the care.

    Don't get me wrong - small charities are essential and they mean well, but is not the most efficient use of your donation during a large scale disaster such as this. In this type of situation, you need logistics, and it makes no sense to duplicate efforts.

    I hope this helps!

    Last edited by ckc; 17-03-2011 at 12:10 PM.
    MovingIn07 likes this.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    6

    I somewhat agree with MikeLowrey. Like I said I've done volunteering abroad before so I really want to go and help as well, especially because I feel a deep connection with the Japanese culture and the country itself. But at this time, when they don't have any resources, it's even hard to transport anyone to the site because the shortage of gas. Money is the quick, fast, and most useful solution right now rather than spending the thousands of dollars just to get one of us there.

    If it helps though I've been constantly following the news/tweets of locals in Japan...

    Been reading that there are lots of local volunteers there at the volunteer centre that they even have to send some home. The weather conditions there aren't best to do anything anyway so I think the cleaning was at a halt but they seem to have started again this morning. There are in fact, a lot of local average joes there who can help without having to fly or even travel any distance to get there.


  9. #19

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    Mar 2007
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    In my opinion there are other ways we can help Japan even with no money or time to devote. This is my list.

    1. Talk your friends and relatives, who have booked package tours to non-affected areas of Japan OUT of cancelling their trips. (Japan needs to keep it's economy alive, including it's tourist industry, to use that money to help rebuild).

    2. Continue to buy Japanese goods (including food). They are not contaminated, are extremely unlikely to be exported if they become contaminated and, as above, Japan needs to keep it's economy alive to use that money to help rebuild.

    3. Volunteer for any HK-based activities that are raising money for earthquake relief.

    jimbo and chocolatekisses like this.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Singapore
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    2,582
    Quote Originally Posted by nlsk:
    @mikelowrey

    There's plenty of debates about where your money actually goes and the effectiveness, so I won't go there.

    All your questions are valid.
    1. I don't need suitcases. If you have ever tried real backpacking/camping/etc, then you know you don't need much.
    2. I can't carry enough water/food for 2 weeks. It's a problem. Figure it out. That's what you do with problems.
    3. I can't guarantee I won't be a burden but there is probably a break-even point: The amount of help provided by a group of avg Joes vs. the resources required.
    4. There are other affected areas besides Fukushima.

    Your rhetoric doesn't bring anything to the table. This is an empty debate. I'm seeking real feedback - legal issues, logistics, operations of existing orgs, etc. Instead, you pose questions that have no real answers. How much would I be able to help? Who knows. Probably zero. But what if by chance I stumble on one person that I can actually save? Yes I have EMT experience so it might just be possible. Now is 100k worth it? Would it be worth it for a family member to house me for a few days if I saved their loved one? I prefer not to play the "what if" game.

    Even for expert search parties, do you even know their hit rate and how many lives they are able to save? With all the experience, tech, dogs, etc, they aren't pulling people (alive) out by the hundreds. It's a needle in a haystack. If it's not your cup of tea, that's fine. This isn't a tree-hugger movement. It's actually trying to think about how to help (aside from the 50 ways I can donate a dollar to organizations).

    I'll cap it here for myself. This isn't the place for a debate. I just wanted to find additional information on how to help.
    I have been in contact with local Japanese friends in the Ibaraki Pref (Tsuchiura Shi & Tsukuba) this evening and they complain about how many of the foreigners just worry about themselves and are not helping at all. They say that any assistance they can get is more than welcome as they are extremely short on manpower. Most locals are helping each other but will welcome any help from an outsider.

    My buddy/colleague managed to get a flight out today as we have had a few empty legs to TYO and I will keep you posted on his progress.
    shri likes this.

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