It is with great concern we are seeing the images from Japan.
The scene of the devastation is quite amazing. It will be a while for all of us to get a full sense of the disaster and its impact.
Our team in Japan was in fact hosting a conversation with 30 NGO representatives from our Community Technology Skills Program partner the National Council of Women who were in the building for a training event. Some of the representatives are from across Japan including some of the worst hit areas of the disaster. This was their annual review of the program. The Japan team has been working hard to supply food, drinks and blankets to all those remaining in the building.
Our team is working to determine the best response and is working with the Red Cross in Japan and other key local NGOs to determine the level of assistance they may require.
Microsoft is also putting in place a range of services and resources to support relief efforts in Japan including:
• Reaching out to customers, local government, inter-government and non-government agencies to support relief efforts.
• Working with customers and partners to conduct impact assessments.
• Providing customers and partners impacted by the earthquake with free incident support to help get their operations back up and running.
• Offering free temporary software licenses to all impacted customers and partners as well as lead governments, non-profit partners and institutions involved in disaster response efforts.
• Making Exchange Online available at no cost for 90 days to business customers in Japan whose communications and collaboration infrastructure may be affected. We hope this will help them resume operations more quickly while their existing systems return to normal.
• Making a cloud-based disaster response communications portal, based on Windows Azure, available to governments and nonprofits to enable them to communicate between agencies and directly with citizens.
• Bing Maps is currently providing imagery of the area and we are working on securing before and after imagery for a disaster response mapping application.
The Disaster Response team will be connecting with our colleagues from the Microsoft Japan Subsidiary over the weekend to get the latest information on where/how Microsoft may be able to lend support.
Several organizations are offering support to help victims of the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. Here are a few ways you can help:
• The American Red Cross is accepting donations for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief. Individuals can also text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 from their mobile phone.
• Save the Children is responding to the needs of children and families affected by the earthquake and its aftermath. Donations can be made to Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund.
• International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster’s victims.
• World Vision has announced mobilization in response to the earthquake and tsunami.
• NetHope, a collaboration of the world’s leading humanitarian response organizations, is mobilizing efforts to support aid agencies responding in the region.
• Mercy Corps is working with its partner Charity Peace Winds Japan to accept donations.
• AidMatrix is working with its partners to connect resources and materiel for various response efforts. Needs for In-Kind and Transportation donations are being assessed and will be posted to the AidMatrix network as they become available.
Posted by Akhtar Badshah
Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft