Mike Arai was planning to be in Japan to help his mother celebrate her 84th birthday at the beginning of April. 

"I hope she's not injured," said Arai.

Arai's mother is now missing. Her home in one of the most ruined parts of the country.

Arai is the owner of Suisha Gardens, an Ottawa dining landmark. He hasn't been able to find his mother, but he has talked to a cousin. She is living in complete ruins.

"Her home is a few pieces of dishes," said Arai. "Everything is destroyed."

The Canadian Red Cross is collecting cash to help with the relief efforts in Japan. Over the weekend, it raised more than $1 million. The organization says the needs in a developed society like Japan are different from Haiti. It says the best thing you can do is donate money.

"It's easy to transport across international lines," said Alice D'Anjou, with the Canadian Red Cross. "It's flexible and it supports the immediate needs."

D'Anjou expects the organization to be on the ground in Japan for a lengthy period of time. You can make a donation online to the Red Cross, or you can call 1-800-418-111.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley