Canadian Red Cross launches fund to support earthquake, tsunami relief efforts in Japan

Calls to the B.C. office of the Canadian Red Cross are starting to pour in as concerned residents look to send aid to Japan following the most powerful recorded earthquake to strike the country.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan on March 11 at about 2:30 p.m. local time, triggering a series of aftershocks and a devastating tsunami.

The Japanese Red Cross has deployed 11 national disaster response teams to help with relief efforts, and the Canadian Red Cross is prepared to send support if it’s requested.

“The Japanese Red Cross and their many volunteers are currently providing search and rescue support and obviously First Aid to various victims,” Bas Brusche, spokesperson for the B.C. Red Cross, told the Straight.

“We are monitoring as Canadian Red Cross the situation very closely, and we are ready to respond with emergency supplies with personnel if needed. Such a request has not yet been made, but obviously we’re preparing for getting out if necessary.”

Brusche said a special fund has been set up for Canadians wishing to donate to the relief efforts.

People wishing to donate to the relief efforts can contact their local Red Cross office, call 1-800-418-1111, or donate online at Donations can also be made online via smartphone, or by texting REDCROSS or ROUGE to 30333 for a $5 donation.

Canadians concerned about friends or relatives in Japan can contact the Canadian foreign affairs department at 613-943-1055, or toll free within Canada at 1-800-387-3124, or email

The International Committee of the Red Cross has also established a Family Links website to help reunite what they say are thousands of Japanese residents who have lost contact with family members because of the natural disaster. For more information, visit