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International aid pours in to help Japan quake, tsunami victims

March 15, 2011 12:31:32 AM PDT
As Japan struggles to deal with a crisis of epic proportions, the world is reaching out to help, sending search-and-rescue teams and much needed supplies. From musicians to high tech companies, everyone is raising funds for the quake and tsunami relief.

Five days after the earthquake and tsunami, survivors in Japan were helping each other. As food starts to become scarce, a restaurant in Miyako offered free food to fellow survivors.

International aid poured in - much of it from the United States - on ships like the USS Ronald Reagan, bringing food and water.

A search-and-rescue team from Mexico called Los Topos, or the Moles, was dispatched to find survivors in the rubble. The head of the brigade said teams from Japan helped them after the Mexico City quake in 1985, and the Mexican people remember that.

Teams from the U.S. were stunned to see the widespread devastation.

"It's amazing what has happened to this area - overwhelming," said Joseph Knerr, who was part of a search-and-rescue team from Fairfax County, Virginia. "You wonder how the local people who live here are to recover from it."

The Extreme Pita restaurant in Riverside is donating a portion of this week's sales to help disaster recovery efforts in Japan. Riverside is the sister city of Sendai, which is one of the hardest hit areas.

Owner Brett Baumgartner says he will give 10 percent of sales to the Red Cross, adding that the response from the community has been overwhelming.

"Normally our Monday sales are kind of slow, Monday's a slow day for us. Yesterday we doubled our sales. We have had people come in that have heard about it, it's just incredible," said Baumgartner.

The Takami Sushi Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles is donating 100 percent of all restaurant profits to the Red Cross Japanese Relief Fund. They say many staff members have relatives in Japan and are personally affected by this tragedy.

ABC7 teamed up with the Red Cross at both the Rose Bowl and Angel Stadium on Monday. Southern Californians came out, opening up their hearts and their wallets. So far, the event has raised more than $317,098 that will go to disaster relief and money is still coming in.

In addition, The Walt Disney Company, which operates a theme park in Tokyo, is pledging $2.5 million to the American Red Cross for Japan relief efforts.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

If you would like to donate, checks can be sent to:
ABC7 Japan Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 5967
Glendale, CA 91221
All checks should be made out to the Red Cross, with "Japan earthquake" in the memo line.

Or donate here: American Red Cross
You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone