In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, and the subsequent nuclear emergency, here are a few ways to help the 410,000 displaced.
Along with sending out calls for aid (the Japan Red Cross and the Japan Society are great first options), many architects and designers in Japan and around the world are responding to the situation in Sendai in creative ways. You can donate to their individual efforts. Making shelters less stressful In the Tohoku region, Shigeru Ban is working on erecting simple partitions in gymnasiums where evacuees have taken refuge. The high-density situation in these shelters add to the stress of being displaced; Ban’s dividers provide a sense of privacy for individual families. Ban has been developing his relief structures since the Fukuoka earthquake in 2005, opting for paper tube beams and cloth panels that can be quickly deployed in any situation. You can make donations on Ban’s web site; if you provide your email, you get progress updates. Shopping with a purpose Jean Snow, a Tokyo-based design writer, has created a bazaar on his Snow magazine web site for those who want to use their purchasing power to positive effect. Besides donating to aid agencies, he’s asking people to consider buying design items that spread a message of solidarity with Japan, while also aiding in disaster relief. His list includes postcards by Eloise Rapp, a poster by W+K, and Luis Mendo‘s first city report on Tokyo. Donating for rebuilding efforts Recent reports indicate that, with the exception of isolated pockets, survivors’ most basic needs are being met in shelters. If you prefer to aid in rebuilding efforts, get in touch with Architecture for Humanity, which is working with design professionals and its own volunteers in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. In its press release, the organization states, “Further down the road, funds will go toward aiding local agencies in providing housing and the reconstruction of social and cultural infrastructure, such as schools, clinics and cultural centers.”