SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Bay Area charities encouraged people to donate money to assist the response to a devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck off the northeast coast of Japan on Thursday night.

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami has left hundreds of people dead in Japan and caused extensive damage in the country.

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The American Red Cross is on standby to assist its Japanese counterparts, and has a warehouse in nearby Malaysia that is fully stocked with supplies if its help is needed, said Caitlin Cobb of the organization’s Bay Area chapter.

The Red Cross has set up a fund for Bay Area residents to donate to the disaster response effort, Cobb said.

Those wishing to donate can visit the organization’s website at or call (888) 4HELPBAY.

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The Salvation Army is also responding to the disaster, which most badly damaged the city of Sendai, about 250 miles from Tokyo, according to the organization.

The Salvation Army has nearly 1,000 employees working throughout Japan and is also seeking donations for the response.

To donate, visit the organization’s website at, call (800) SAL-ARMY, or text the word “Quake” or “Japan” to 80888 to donate $10.

Material goods are not being requested at this point in the relief effort because of the logistical challenges of shipping and distributing the items, Salvation Army officials said.

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