March 12, 2011

The tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 was a shocking event. The scope and scale of the devastation is difficult to believe. All of us at Densho express our deep sorrow for those who lost their lives, and are keeping the Japanese people in our thoughts as they begin to cope with what will be a long and difficult period of recovery.

Those of us on the staff have many friends and some family members living in Japan. Fortunately, we have been able to contact most of them and everyone is safe thus far. We were particularly happy to hear that our special events manager and finance specialist Naoko Magasis’s mother, who is older and lives alone, was unhurt and is doing well.

All of us very much appreciate the messages of concern we’ve been receiving from Densho’s supporters. Many of you have asked if there are ways that you can provide assistance to those who have been affected. While Japan has a large, well-organized emergency management system, there are several disaster relief NGOs who will be providing important support to the overall efforts. Densho has joined with other Seattle-area non-profits to mobilize funds for these NGOs:

In addition, the non-profit Network For Good has set up a portal website for disaster relief at:

Network For Good Japan Quake & Tsunami Relief

We also ask those of you who live in Washington State or other areas along the west coast of the Americas to take this opportunity to prepare for seismic events like this one. You can start by visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website, or your local emergency preparedness authority.

(Photo courtesy of TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)