Over the weekend, we had a tremendous response to our Japan Tsunami Appeal, and lots of people asked questions about how they can help, other than donating to our appeal.

Instead of answering them individually, we’ve put the most common ones here, along with links to more information on our website.

1. I have family in Japan and haven’t heard from them. What can I do?

We have a page on our website about ways to try to contact your family in Japan. We’ll keep updating it if the situation changes, so please check there.

2. I have specialist skills and want to go to Japan to help. How can I?

When disasters happen overseas, we sometimes send our specialist emergency response units to help, if they’re requested. The Japan Red Cross has not asked us to send specialists.

People on our emergency response units have to go through extensive training with us to prepare them for the work they’ll be doing in disaster zones. If you think this kind of work would interest you in the future, search through our current international vacancies.

We also have an international delegate register, which helps us send people to work on programmes overseas. Again, you would be unlikely to be sent to Japan, but you could go to other countries where people need help. Find out how to join our register.

3. I don’t have specialist skills but I still want to volunteer in Japan. Can I?

We don’t send volunteers overseas in emergency situations. Because there are 186 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world, we work primarily through local volunteers, and can send our specially trained staff if they’re requested.

If you would like to be trained to help people in emergencies, take a look at our UK emergency response volunteering. You could help people in your community during disasters like floods, fires and mass-evacuations.

4. I want to send clothing, blankets, or other items to Japan. How do I?

Wherever possible, we try to buy items from the affected country or the surrounding region. This helps the local economy and keeps transport costs down. We can’t ship second-hand items to Japan. (Find out more about why we ask for money instead of goods.)

However, we’d love for you to donate items to your local Red Cross charity shop. The goods would be sold in the UK to raise money for all our work – whether in the UK or abroad.

5. Can I text to donate or donate through PayPal?

At the moment we’re not doing text to donate, and we’re not set up to take donations through PayPal. We encourage people to donate through our website instead.

6. How can I tell if an email is genuinely from the British Red Cross?

Unfortunately, scammers sometimes pretend to represent a charity. If you’re uncertain about whether an email came from the Red Cross, check our fraud page.

If you have other questions about donating, check out our donation enquiries.