. . . Donations Distribution - INFO

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Distributing the Donations - INFO

This subject has been coming up a few times since June 11.
People in Tohoku are asking where the dollars are hiding.
They need money to pay for this and that, since most do not have an income since March 11.
But very little money has found its way to the hands of the needy.


Japanese Red Cross Society
Earthquake Donation
source : www.jrc.or.jp

These funds will be distributed directly among the affected population. For more information on how your donations will be contributed, please click here.

As of 9 June 2011,
we have received JPY 225 billion (USD 2.8 billion), and disbursed JPY 82 billion (USD 1 billion) in response to the requests from disaster-affected prefectures.

source : Donations directly to Japanese Red Cross


Tuesday June 14, 2011

quote from the Japan Times
Donations slow in finding way to victims

Of the more than ¥251.4 billion collected for survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, only about 15 percent had been distributed by the beginning of this month, largely due to the scale of the disaster and the lack of local manpower to distribute the funds.

Donations are managed by a government committee established in early April, and allocated to the victims of the disaster starting with prefectural governments and following with cities, towns and villages.
But the scale of the twin disasters wiped out many local governments, rendering them incapable of distributing all the money on their own.

Of the ¥251.4 billion collected, mostly through the Japanese Red Cross, the committee had sent ¥84.1 billion to 15 prefectures as of June 10. However, the actual amount that the prefectures and cities, towns and villages distributed further down the chain was about ¥37 billion — roughly 15 percent of the total.

"There are lots of problems with getting the money into the hands of people, due to reasons such as the fact that there is often no way to deposit the funds in somebody's account because their bank was wiped out.,"

said Sayaka Matsumoto, a Japanese Red Cross spokeswoman. "The scale of the disaster means the time needed to confirm a person's house was fully or partially destroyed, and a lack of manpower on the part of the Japanese Red Cross are the reasons we're lagging in distributing the money,"

At the first meeting, the committee decided that relatives of those killed or missing, or those who lived within a 30-km radius of the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, would receive ¥350,000 per household. Those whose homes were partially damaged would receive ¥180,000.

The casualty toll as of June 1 put the confirmed death toll at 15,300, with another 8,300 missing. The number of people who lost their homes came to about 100,000.

Of the ¥84.1 billion released by the national committee, Fukushima Prefecture had received ¥35 billion, Miyagi ¥34.4 billion and Iwate ¥10.4 billion as of Friday, with the remainder distributed to a dozen other prefectures from Hokkaido to Kanagawa.
The national committee consists of about two dozen representatives from academia, welfare organizations, the Japanese Red Cross and NHK, as well as representatives from 15 prefectures affected by the quake and tsunami.

At the second meeting earlier this month, the committee agreed to a further disbursement of funds. While no specific amount per household was written into the formal decision, it's expected the committee will continue to distribute the money under the system that was established in April.

The Japanese Red Cross has a system for distributing the funds that looks straightforward on paper but is fraught with potential problems.
Donations received from individuals and corporations in and out of Japan that are sent directly to the Japanese Red Cross are managed by the national committee, which sets guidelines based largely on the advice it receives from 15 prefectural representatives.

Once the guidelines are decided, the prefectural representatives convey the committee's decisions to their prefectural governments, which then receive their allotted share of the donations promised by the committee. The prefectures, in turn, decide which of their cities, towns and villages are in greatest need of the money, and it is the local governments that actually hand over the cash to the survivors.

But in the past, there have been problems between victims, local governments and the Japanese Red Cross over a lack of transparency regarding the disbursement system.
A few years after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe were found to have been keeping in reserve billions of yen in donations for long-term disaster-relief projects, rather than distributing the money sent for victims' immediate needs.

More of the money, but not all the funds, was distributed after groups of victims demanded the funds be turned directly over to the thousands who were still living in temporary shelters.

Then there are donations made by those overseas to their national Red Cross or Red Crescent organizations, which appealed for donations to help Japan. But unlike the funds it receives directly, donations gathered by overseas Red Cross organizations and handed over to the Japanese Red Cross are not distributed in cash.

Funds received in this manner are actually used to purchase six specific household electronic goods, as needed, for those made homeless and living in either temporary shelters or public housing — a washing machine, an air conditioner/heater, a TV, a rice cooker, a microwave oven and an electric pot for coffee or tea.

But while the Japanese Red Cross website clearly spells out in Japanese how funds received from overseas Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are used, and while the English-language section of the site offers a general explanation of how direct donations to their organization are distributed, potential donors from overseas who click onto their own country's website may find less transparency.

For example, as of last Thursday, the "Donate Funds" section of the American Red Cross website read, "Your gift to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific."

There is no mention of what, exactly, the money is being used to purchase.

Kazuaki Omura, a 64-year-old Hyogo Prefecture resident involved in local efforts to get the Japanese Red Cross to disburse funds donated for Kobe quake victims, pointed out that transparency in the decision-making and distribution process is critical.
"While there are good reasons why distributing the money has been delayed, it's critical that the distribution process on the part of the Red Cross and the local governments be not only speedy, but also transparent," said Omura.

"Otherwise, Tohoku people may find they, like the Kobe quake victims, aren't receiving donations not because of logistics reasons but because of an opaque decision-making process and a lack of accountability," he said.

source : Japan Times . ERIC JOHNSTON


Monday, July 11, 2011

Only 23% of donations reach quake victims
Less than one-quarter of some 3.7 billion dollars in donations collected in Japan after the March 11th quake and tsunami has reached the hands of survivors, 4 months after the disaster.
The welfare ministry says that as of last Friday, disaster relief funds sent to the Japan Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan from across the country totaled nearly 3.7 billion dollars.
But only about 836 million, or 23 percent, of the total has been distributed.
In the first round of payments, survivors are entitled to receive around 4,400 dollars per family member that died or is missing in the disaster. Nearly 68 percent of more than 1.1 billion dollars disbursed to 15 prefectures has reached its intended recipients.
An additional 1.8 billion dollars have been sent to quake-hit regions for the second round of payments, in which individual municipalities determine their own distribution criteria. But only 3.6 percent of that money has reached survivors' pockets.
The ministry says many affected municipalities are short of manpower and couldn't come up with distribution plans until late June, and that this has caused the slow disbursement.
Citing a lack of staff in the coastal regions affected by the disaster, the ministry is calling on municipalities across Japan to dispatch officials to these areas.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011


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