Grassroots International joins with those around the world in expressing our sadness and concern for the people of Japan in the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Thousands have died, and many more are missing or being evacuated due to ongoing health and safety threats.
While Grassroots International does not have a program in East Asia or Japan, we wanted to share a statement of solidarity from our partner the Vía Campesina and offer resources for those who wish to directly support groups working in the region, including three options for donations.
1. As an international social movement of peasants and small farmers, the Vía has a member organization in Japan –Nouminren (Japanese Family Farmers Movement) that is accepting donations directly (see the bank account information listed below). Please note: as these donations directly go to an organization in Japan, they may not be tax-deductible.
2. The Vía Campesina is also accepting donations through its own website.
3. Our colleagues at Peace Development Fund have endorsed a campaign led by led by Eclipse Rising and the Japanese Pacific Resource Network: the Japan Multicultural Relief Fund. This fund will support grassroots organizations working on the ground to support undeserved communities. Donations to the Japan Multicultural Relief Fund are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Via Campesina Calls for Solidarity for the people of Japan
On Friday, March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan, which in turn triggered a tsunami that reached heights of 10 meters. This was the strongest earthquake in recorded history to hit Japan and is the fourth strongest recorded earthquake since 1900. The major earthquake, together with the massive tsunami, devastated several cities, toppling buildings and homes and washing away everything in its path.
The official death toll in Japan as of Tuesday, March 15 has reached 2,475 with officials estimating this will increase as rescuers continue their search. Thousands are still missing and at least 450,000 are now living in shelters. There are reports of food and water shortages and aftershocks continue, with some reaching magnitudes of 6.0, making it even more difficult for both rescuers and survivors. And to make matters worse, the people are now faced with a radiation leak and threats of a potential nuclear meltdown as emergency workers exert all efforts to cool down and stop the fires at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Japanese farmers are seriously affected by this tsunami. As shown in many media reports, many houses have been destroyed along with a lot of farmland and fisheries. Nouminren, the Japan Family Farmers Movement, a member of La Vía Campesina, is itself unable to reach its own members in the hardest hit areas immediately following the disaster. However, Nouminren has set up a disaster-[countering] Assessment Headquarters to measure impacts and assess the damage. It will be used to distribute food, water and, together with medical organizations, to save the lives and health of affected peoples.
EXTENDING OUR SOLIDARITY
Many of us are not strangers to tragedy and natural disasters and so many of us know that it is the immediate response and support that can save and change lives but also more importantly, it is the long term commitment and firm solidarity that helps rebuild lives and gives hope for a better future. We as peasants, believe that it is the rebuilding of livelihoods and farms and fisheries that will help people get back on their feet. But we also hope that this rebuilding will lead towards a nuclear free and clean energy not only for Japan but also for the rest of the world.
We believe that with your solidarity, we will be able to give hope to the people of Japan and help them take that first step towards rebuilding their lives.
La Via Campesina expresses its deepest sympathies to all the people of Japan and all those who lost their families, friends, homes, livelihoods and all who are affected and now living in fear of a radiation leak from the damaged nuclear power plant. We are extending our support and solidarity and call on all our fellow social movements, peoples’ organizations, civil society and all concerned citizens to join in and help the people of Japan in their time of greatest need.
The immediate task at hand now is to stand with the people of Japan in their moment of greatest need. We call on all of you to please help in any way you can. Any small amount can make a difference and will go a long way in the rescue and relief efforts.
You could send your support through : NAME : Nouminundozenkokurengoukai CONTACT NO : 81-3-3590-6759 BANK : MIZUHO BANK LTD. BRANCH : IKEBUKURO NISHIGUCHI BRANCH ADDRESS : 1-15-2 NISHI IKEBUKURO, TOSHIMA-KU, TOKYO ACCOUNT NO. : 229 1775644 SWIFTCODE : MHBKJPJT OR You could go directly to La Vía Campesina website www.viacampesina.org and click the DONATE button. Globalize the hope! Globalize the struggle!