By Quentin Fottrell
Amidst confusion over whether or not the Japanese Red Cross wanted your money following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami and whether or not a rich country like Japan actually needed your money, Americans have given generously, donating $120.5 million thus far to the American Red Cross fund for the recovery operation in Japan.
The American Red Cross says that the money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response – specifically the Japanese Red Cross with 2 million registered volunteers there – and won’t be used for other purposes, despite claims by some critics that it would re-directed to other regions or get soaked up by administrative expenses.
“As part of the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross is eager to support our counterparts in the Japanese Red Cross, whose staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet the immense needs of their people,” according to David Meltzer, senior vice-president of international services with the American Red Cross.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, however, there appeared to be disagreement – or at least confusion – between the different national branches of the Red Cross. The latest bulletin from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies takes a remarkably different tone to an earlier bulletin of March 15th (pdf) that implied that the Japanese Red Cross didn’t require money.
The latest bulletin (pdf) states: “Emergency relief, medical services and psycho-social support form the core of this support. The Japanese Red Cross Society is now planning how to strengthen its already impressive relief response transitioning into supporting the wider early recovery effort.” It’s a contrast from an earlier bulletin that went viral on the Internet that “determined that external assistance is not required.”