Ottawa residents fundraise for quake victims

Ottawa groups and individuals open their wallets to help victims of last week's devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan.
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members search for the victims of Friday's tsunami in northern Japan on Monday. Ottawa residents have begun to open their wallets to help victims of the disaster. (Kyodo News/Associated Press)

Ottawa groups and individuals have opened their wallets to help victims of last week's devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan.

Helping Japan

For a list of aid agencies, click here.

The Ottawa Japanese Community Association and the Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre are among the groups who have begun local fundraising. They are putting donation boxes in stores, and money raised is to be sent to the Red Cross, which has already received $2.5 million countrywide.

Canadian Red Cross spokeswoman Pam Aung Thin said the money is forwarded to the Japanese Red Cross and its crews on the ground.

"They're deploying medical staff, a number of teams that are working on rotation and going to the affected areas, providing basic medical care as well as shelter, blankets, clean water, food."

Thousands are dead or missing in Japan and the ambassador to Canada, Kaoru Ishikawa, told CBC News he fears the disaster will leave behind many orphaned children. He was grateful for the Canadian help.

"My message to Canada is thank you, thank you, and thank you," he said.

Ottawa resident Rebecca Cragg spent seven years teaching in Japan and her home has since been transformed into a Japanese tea house and art gallery.

Cragg, who teaches Japanese aesthetics at Carleton University, said she was shocked by the images from the country's northeast.

"I really felt I owed such a debt of gratitude for all the people that were so patient with me in the seven years I was there that I wanted to do something more significant," she said.

With support from her students, she's organizing a variety of fundraising events and donating a full month of her own salary to earthquake relief. 

The events at Camellia Teas were to begin Monday and will include a tea ceremony and bamboo painting.   

Cragg will donate the materials and in each case will ask participants to make a donation to the Red Cross Japan fund.