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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
japanese red cross work standing in rubble A handout photo shows the first team of Japanese Red Cross Society members to enter the town of Otsuchi on March 14, 2011. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / JAPANESE RED CROSS / HO / TOSHIHARU KATO. CREDIT: Toshiharu Kato/AFP/Getty Images/NewsCom)

Red Cross Helps in Japan

Both Japan and U.S. organizations at work

By Andrew Liang | March 18 , 2011

The Japanese Red Cross is working with its partner, the American Red Cross, in providing shelter, food, and medical aid to the people of Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the country March 11. The quake was followed by a tsunami that wiped out entire communities.

"The Japanese Red Cross is a very strong society," said Timothy English, the CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross. English previously worked five years with the Red Cross in Japan. "They have 2 million volunteers that include medical teams, nurses, doctors, and others. They are quite adept at doing the response."

The United States military is also helping out with food and supplies. But transporting the necessary goods to Japan has become logistically difficult after the disaster. What can Americans, including kids, donate to help the disaster relief in Japan?

"The most important thing you can donate is money," English said. "What we really need to do is to collect money to get it to the Japanese Red Cross. We are doing that through texting right now."

English directed those who want to give to the American Red Cross website. The American Red Cross has so far sent $10 million to the Japanese Red Cross.

Devastation from the earthquake and tsunami are not Japan's only problems.

"Vast areas of the country were affected by the tremor, but most of the damage was brought by the tsunami," said Ruben Brown, Media Relations Specialist of the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross. "Now with the nuclear threats, we do not know how many people could be affected."

The nuclear threats are radiation leaks at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant due to cooling system failures caused by the earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima is only a short distance from Sendai, a large city near the epicenter of the quake. It is less than 200 northeast of Tokyo, Japan's largest city.

Since the cooling systems are not working, the reactors are overheating. Many Japanese people have no electricity because of the reactor conditions. Workers at the plant are frantically trying to keep the reactors from melting down and releasing extremely hazardous levels of radiation. Residential areas around the plant have been evacuated.

The Red Cross would like to convey a message to Americans through this disaster in Japan.

"We cannot afford to let our guard down," Brown said. "It teaches us that we need to prepare for the unexpected now."

For more news about relief efforts in Japan and to donate to the American Red Cross, check out the Red Cross website.

EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan on Friday, March 11, causing a destructive tsunami that reached the west coast of the United States. Scholastic News Kid Reporters are collecting information about the quake and its aftermath and talking to people who have family and friends in Japan and looking into how kids can help with relief efforts. Find their stories in the Earthquake in Japan Special Report.

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