Appeal for help: Japan Earthquake

Swami Medhasananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Japan, has issued an appeal for donations to help the Japanese people suffering in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. The Vedanta Center is accepting donations for this cause, and will transfer all funds to the Vedanta Society of Japan. Make checks payable to the Vedanta Center, marked with “Japan Relief”.

Update: $4,458 has been donated and wired to Japan.

The swami writes in part:

The loss of life and property and shelter caused by this two-fold natural disaster continues to heap tremendous suffering to innumerable survivors. Some of the most severely hit areas have been rendered inaccessible. … The seriousness of this situation has been worsened by the damaged nuclear reactors … at Fukushima Prefecture and the ongoing efforts toward preventing meltdowns and limiting extremely dangerous radiation leakages affecting the atmosphere, drinking water, vegetable etc. in varying degrees. …

Although Japan experiences earthquakes and tsunami fairly regularly, the scale and magnitude of the concurrent disasters are unprecedented and the entire nation is reeling from the impact. The Ramakrishna Mission has a long tradition of providing extensive relief to the victims of natural disasters, and as the Japan branch of the Mission, we, the monk and devotees of the Vedanta Society of Japan, are wondering if we can be of some service to the victims during this moment of national crisis. We have been considering various options, including mobilizing some funds collected from our devotees and friends and sympathetic people from within this country and from abroad. In fact, we have been receiving many phone calls and emails from different countries, including India, since this disaster began to unfold. These concerned people not only express their sympathies and prayers for the victims, they also inquire what they may do to directly help the afflicted.

As such, may we request that you take the initiative to mobilize a fund drive and send whatever is collected to the Japan Branch of the Mission through a bank transfer? We, in turn, intend to give monies to local governments and city offices in as many affected areas as possible to be used as they prioritize. Of course we will keep proper records of these disbursements. …

We believe that any funds raised by you, regardless of amount, will be greatly appreciated by the people of this country as a kind and sympathetic gesture from you and the devotees of your centre.