People look at aftermath of tsunami water following earthquake, Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. (AP)
ATLANTA -- The fifth largest earthquake in recorded history struck Japan with a vengeance on Friday, March 11, leaving Americans looking for ways to help.
The Metro Atlanta Better Business Bureau has released a list of charities that meet their Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability: American Red Cross, AmeriCares, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Direct Relief International, GlobalGiving, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, Save the Children and World Vision.
The American Red Cross has set up donation pages on their website at www.redcross.org and enabled donations via text message. Texting REDCROSS to 90999 will make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami not only in Japan, but across the Pacific Rim.
Apple has set up a donation page on iTunes so that you can donate to the Red Cross directly from your iTunes account. Apple's Steve Jobs said via the iTunes Store, Apple may actually have the single largest credit card database of any online retailer, which makes this a natural fit for them.
Save The Children is accepting donations through its website www.savethechildren.org and by text message. To donate to their Japan disaster fund, text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222 for a $10 donation to Save The Children.
The Salvation Army sent a team to Sendai, the Northern Japan city closest to the epicenter of the quake, Friday night. The charity is accepting text-based donations. Texting JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 will make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army's efforts in the region.
Keep in mind that the donations sent via text message are deducted from your text messaging account, and may be subject to other charges from your cell phone carrier.
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Atlanta-based CARE is also accpeting donations toward areas affected by the catastrophe in Japan. You can reach their online donation area at www.care.org.
Members of Doctors Without Borders are working in the region to help out wtih relief efforts. You can donate to their efforts at www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
Shelterbox is a disaster relief organization affiliated with Rotary International that puts survival materials like tents, food and other lifesaving supplies into large plastic boxes and gets them to families displaced by disasters like the catastrophe in Japan. Donate to their efforts at www.shelterboxusa.org.
AmeriCares is a non-profit disaster relief organization that works to get emergency medical needs and health care to areas affected by large scale disasters. You can donate to their efforts at www.americares.org.
Google has created a person finder app that can be embedded on any website, which allows visitors to either try to find someone or to provide information about someone.
For those concerned with flight status both inbound and outbound, you can contact the following airlines (including Atlanta-based Delta) at the links below:
Social media is playing a big part in relief efforts for this disaster -- Twitter hashtags are being used extensively to focus traffic, #TSUNAMI is the primary hashtag at present.
On Facebook, quite a few groups have developed, some geared toward marshaling resources, others geared toward donations or simply prayer and positive thoughts for those affected.
Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, founder of Explore.org and director of the Annenberg Foundation challenged the online community from the floor of the Austin Convention Center, where the SXSW conference was taking place. He said that Explore.org would donate up to $100,000 to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which is helping out with relief efforts in Japan.
Weingarten said that for every "Like" to come into the NDSDF's Dog Bless You Facebook page (also tracking on Twitter via the hashtags #dogblessyou and #dogs4japan), Explore.org would donate $1, up to $100,000.
As the scope of the disaster continues to unfold, 11Alive News will update this page with the latest information on how you can help out those affected by the catastrophe.