Support for tsunami relief needed

Though the uproar over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill has been a focus for many UW-Whitewater

Graphic by Seth Anderson

students, faculty and staff, we must take time to support a much larger issue.

As of March 21, the combined toll of dead and missing was more than 21,000 people after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake created a tsunami on March 11 that struck the northeast coast of Japan.

Entire towns were washed away by the wall of water that ripped through Japan’s northeast coastline.

With more than 14,000 buildings destroyed and more than 100,000 damaged, close to a million homes are without water and 300,000 people are living in shelters.

Although it’s been a few weeks since the tsunami struck,

we must not forget about those suffering because they’re halfway across the globe.

Even after several years, the Gulf Coast and its people are still suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and it has only been less than a month for Japan.

Many Wisconsinites are up in arms over an issue that pales in comparison to the devastation in Japan, and we must step back and realize things could be much worse.

We should put our own wants and concerns lower on our priority lists and look at the true needs of others.

As members of a growing global community, it’s important we lend a helping hand to Japan, a neighbor in need.

Various organizations have made relief efforts as simple as donating through a text message from your cell phone.

To donate $10 to the American Red Cross’s relief fund, simply text REDCROSS to 90999.  Likewise, to donate $10 to the Salvation Army, text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888.

With students of UW-Whitewater in Japan and Japanese students on campus, the International Students Association is offering an opportunity to support tsunami relief efforts.

ISA will be selling t-shirts for $10, the money from which will be pooled with organizations from other UW schools and donated to relief efforts.

Though students may not be swimming in cash, a $10 donation isn’t going to bankrupt them.

Hundreds of thousands of people’s lives have been turned upside down in Japan and for many, so have their homes.

As if destruction from the tsunami wasn’t bad enough, the Japanese face significant threats of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

Test results on Sunday for the No. 2 reactor’s turbine building showed radiation levels 10 million times higher than normal in the pooled water.

With radioactive material leaking from reactors, people have been told to make their homes airtight and stay inside.

However, for those whose homes were destroyed, this becomes a serious issue. We are lucky to not be facing extreme destruction, poverty and substantial radiation levels.

As Wisconsinites, we’re not only part of a national community, but a global community as well.

It’s time to extend the same care we would to our neighbors.

If we faced a similar crisis, we would expect other states and nations would come to our aid in a time of need.

We must provide the same support we would expect from others.

Japan is in a time of great need and we must shift our focus to the immediate needs of others rather than our own concerns that are petty in comparison.

For that reason, it’s time we put lesser problems aside and extend our support to our neighbor’s across the pond.

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