Cambridge’s sister city of 26 years, Tsukuba, has begun getting refugees from the disaster in northeastern Japan. (Photo: Lamont Cranston)

Cambridge is starting to gear up to help Japan, left reeling by two weeks of earthquakes, aftershocks and tsunamis and a resulting nuclear crisis.

Cambridge’s sister city of 26 years, Tsukuba, has begun getting refugees from the disaster in northeastern Japan, where food, medication, shelter, energy and fuel is in short supply, said Brian Corr, who appeared Monday before the City Council with other members of the Cambridge Tsukuba Sister City Committee.

Tsukuba is about 120 miles south of the quake site, Corr said, amplifying on information from the group’s Facebook page:

The damage the City of Tsukuba suffered was very minimum compared to northern area: Some areas experienced blackout as well as shortage of water; however, basic lifelines are almost back in order. There is still some damages to buildings and roads within the city; however, there are NO fatalities in Tsukuba and only 14 people were injured from the earthquake.

At roughly the same time a vigil was being held Monday in Boston’s Copley Square, two opportunities to donate were mentioned to councillors:

  • Donations to the Consulate General of Japan, at 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston MA 02210, or by telephone at (617) 973-9772, goes directly to Japan.
  • Donations to the American Red Cross will be transferred to the Japanese Red Cross and are tax deductible.

Private efforts are also under way. Harvard Square’s Black Ink gift shop is vowing 20 percent of its sales Friday will go to relief efforts.

The “Shop for Japan Relief Day” will be in effect  at the 5 Brattle St. location and at the original store at 101 Charles St., Boston. The money will go to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, which is sending on money to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, which goes directly toward citizen relief efforts in the most affected areas, Black Inc. owner Susan Corcoran said in a press release.

“Please visit us on Friday and help us support our friends in Japan,” Corcoran said.

For information about the community center, see JCCCNC.org. Black Ink can be reached at (617) 497-1221.