We are all concerned about the terrible earthquake and tsunami that has afflicted Japan. The situation is tragic and worrying, and our hearts continue to go out to those affected and responding. You may have seen many charities trying to raise money on the basis of this disaster.
While we are moved by the scenes of devastation, and we sympathize with the plight of the Japanese, apparently this is not a situation where charity is being sought.
The charity analysis firm Givewell shares this view. They make the following points:
Those affected have requested very little, limited aid.
Aid being offered far exceeds aid being requested. They have received offers for assistance from 91 countries, and has only accepted assistance from about 15 based on assessed needs, mostly for specialized international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams and medical teams.
Charities are aggressively soliciting donations, often in way we feel are misleading.
Any donation you make will probably be used by the charity you give it to (1) for activities in a different country, or (2) for non-disaster-relief-and-recovery efforts in Japan.
To further learn about the best recommended charities from Givewell, you can continue reading Givewell's Update on How to Help Japan.
We do not want to discourage anyone from helping the victims in Japan. We are providing this information so that you can make the most informed decision possible.