Momoko Onodera prays at an evacuation center as she talks about her husband who died in the tsunami on March 18 in Kesennuma, Japan. A potential humanitarian crisis looms as nearly half a million people who have been displaced by the disaster continue to suffer a shortage of food and fuel as freezing weather conditions set in. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Words cannot express the pain and suffering that the Japanese people are currently experiencing. With recent numbers stating that the number of dead and missing is above 25,000— it is one of the worst calamities in Japanese history. There are already many street photographers on the web who are taking their part such as the Flickr group “Charity Print Auction Japan“. Considering that they are already doing their part in donating images to fund raise, I say that we take a different approach: let’s donate hard-cold cash.

I know we always hear of stories of natural disasters and deaths all around the world–all the time but it is hard to truly humanize these people instead of just thinking of them as another number. But imagine yourself as a 12-year old boy, coming from school one day when you start hearing talks of a tsunami. You look around, confused what is happening. Then you suddenly see a flood people running past you, in utter disarray. You then hear the screeching sounds of people in panic. The streets are flooded with people in utter confusion, not knowing what to do. Full of panic, you run to your house, hoping that your parents and younger brother is okay. Once you go home, your parents are screaming at you, their eyes full of fear. They have no idea where your younger brother is. You frantically start trying to pack your things, and then your house starts crumbling around you. Everybody knows it is the end, and then your family huddles in a circle and hugs for one final embrace.

Fortunately the younger brother was properly evacuated from his school by his teachers and faculty. However the problem is that he no longer has anybody to take care of him. He is a 7-year old orphan, full of fear and despair. Who is to take care of him now?

Although the story told is just fictional, there are probably hundreds of stories like this out there. There are survivors of the earthquake/tsunami–but they need services for food, water, shelter, heating, and much more.

Dozens of coffins are pictured on the floor of a hall in the town of Rifu in Miyagi prefecture on March 18. The official number of dead and missing after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast a week ago has topped 16,600, with 6,405 confirmed dead. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

My goal for us as a community is to donate $1000 to support the people of Japan. I know that we have the potential of earning much more than that, but let’s start that as our first goal. With the kindness and generosity of this community, I know it will definitely be possible.  Although times are tough for all, I think we can all spare $10-20 dollars (a day or two of eating out). Spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr and get the word out.

[3/27/11 update:] Donate directly to the American Red Cross here to show your love and support.

You can see more images of the disaster via the Boston Big Picture.

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