How can you best help the people of Japan in the aftermath of disaster?

Are you considering a charitable donation to help relief and recovery efforts in Japan? Good for you—but while you do so, take a few minutes to think about where your donation will do the most good. That’s the message from the Givewell Blog, which cautions donors to be careful about donating to just any charity that calls for donations for disaster relief in Japan.

It’s not that other charities are necessarily frauds or that your money won’t do any good. But as the blog post lays out, the specific needs of post-tsunami Japan are quite different than those of (for example) post-earthquake Haiti. In Japan, for instance, money may be a less pressing need than specialized relief teams.

The Givewell blog recommends Doctors Without Borders and the Japanese Red Cross as worthwhile causes. You might agree or disagree with those recommendations; but their reasoning seems pretty compelling. Perhaps you know of (and may have donated to) other organizations working in Japan. What charities would you recommend for somebody looking to help? When disaster strikes and you want to donate, do you give to the same organization each time, or do you tailor your donations specifically to the immediate need?

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