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Many U.S. base officials across the Pacific are telling residents that cash donations are the best way for individuals to support relief efforts after Sunday’s massive earthquake and deadly tsunami left tens of thousands dead and millions homeless across Southeast Asia.

Officials at Misawa and Yokota air bases in Japan suggested donating to the American Red Cross.

Misawa American Red Cross Station Manager Jason Ramlow said his organization is mobilizing staff and volunteers from international Red Cross chapters to assist with immediate needs in the affected areas.

He briefed Misawa units Tuesday about the online donation process — at www.redcross.org — which he said is secure.

Donations made to the Red Cross International Response Fund help with supplies, technical assistance and other support, according to the Web site, and will be used to help those affected by the recent tsunami in southern Asia and other humanitarian crises around the globe.

At Yokota, Deanna Swanier, deputy hub manager for Yokota’s American Red Cross, said people wishing to donate also can call (800) HELP-NOW.

On Guam, Andersen Air Force Base and Guam Naval Base spokesmen said residents are being referred to the U.S. Agency for International Development at http://www.usaid.gov, keyword: Donations.

“The USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance recommends against spontaneously collecting commodities or offering untrained volunteer services, which can hamper relief efforts,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jonathan E. Annis, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, Guam.

“Due to the scope of this disaster and the immediate need for coordinated relief, cash donations are encouraged and should be arranged through relief organizations.”

At Osan Air Base in South Korea, money collections were planned at upcoming regularly scheduled religious services, base officials said Wednesday.

Any funds collected at Catholic services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, were to be turned over to Catholic Relief Services. Funds collected at Protestant services Sunday were to be given to the American Red Cross.

Other collections:

Misawa Air Base

The Misawa First Sergeants Council is accepting donations to help with south Asia relief efforts, according to Tech. Sgt. Mikal Canfield, a base spokesman. The First Sergeants Council will accept contributions from any individual or private organization at Misawa.

Once donations have been collected, the council will present the donated sum to the American Red Cross. Call DSN 226-9549 for more information about how to contribute.

Canfield noted that the Misawa First Sergeants Council is a private organization and not affiliated with 35th Fighter Wing.

Camp Courtney

The Camp Courtney, Okinawa, office of Exchange New Car Sales has organized a food and clothing drive for survivors. Those who would like to donate — food, clothing, towels, and blankets are sought — are asked to bring items to either of the Courtney ENCS locations: one near the PX and the other inside the Shopette area.

The donation effort has been coordinated with Lt. Cmdr. Ibn Noel, a Navy chaplain, who is working to arrange logistical support to transport collected items to the area.

The Courtney ENCS office is open to accept donations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 622-2222 or e-mail: NDEVITO@militarycars.com.

Sasebo Naval Base

Cmdr. Harvey Ranard, command chaplain, said planning was under way Wednesday to support a coordinated base-wide relief effort.

“Since the need for support is so great and will exist for a number of weeks to come, we are taking the time to research all viable options so we can be prepared to put forth our very best effort,” he said.

“At a minimum, donations of money will be sought and channeled through an appropriate relief agency.”

Sasebo also is checking into possible near-future transport resources, which may allow community members to donate needed items such as clothing and food.

(Click here for a list of agencies working to aid the people of tsunami-stricken areas.)

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