It’s just too cruel, cruel beyond words. A magnitude 9 earthquake, massive tsunami, nuclear meltdown, lack of electricity, heat, food and potable water…
Word has come today that the U.S. has sent charter flights to evacuate American citizens as the nuclear reactors in the stricken zone have begun to melt down. Japanese citizens have been instructed to seal themselves indoors in a radius of up to fifty miles.
Millions are without electricity, heat, and water. Perhaps the snow is merciful, as many have taken to collecting the snow and melting it in order to obtain water. Still, overnight temperatures are in the 20’s, and the clock has just about run out on finding anyone alive in the rubble.
What is disturbing is that charitable donations have been comparatively light compared to the quake in Haiti. USA today has a good article on this. Read it here. Thus far, American charities have only raised $49 million for Japan. The article compares this to other disasters:
The earthquake that decimated Haiti last year, for instance, prompted $296 million in American donations in the first seven days, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. In 2004, Americans gave nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in the first week.
Part of the reason for fewer contributions may be the perception of Japan, which has the world’s third-largest economy, as a self-sufficient society, says the philanthropy center’s executive director, Patrick Rooney.
Perhaps. But then, the U.S. was doing well on 9/11, and the world responded generously. Love is not something to be means-tested before being given. These people have endured the unimaginable with great stoicism and good social order. Still, we need to reach out to them, in love.
For many, the worst is yet to come.
And lest we forget the heroic 50 workers who have stayed at the nuclear power plant to avert a wider catastrophe, they have all but signed their death certificates in doing so. These are the ultimate pro-life scientists and engineers. Let’s take a moment to pray for them and for their families, then make a donation in their honor.