What You Can Do
A Need for HelpThe effects of Typhoon Haiyan, also called Typhoon Yolanda, are widespread and devastating. Large areas of the Philippine Islands have been tragically changed, and for many, life will never return to the way it once was. At this time donations are the best way to aid victims. Below is a list of organizations from which to choose if you would like to help. Each has a long history of helping those in need.
The United Nations World Food Programme: An online donation page can help you contribute resources for the regions affected. Americans can text the word AID to 27722 to donate $10.
The Philippine Red Cross: Funds help activate ground rescue and relief efforts.
UNICEF: Donations help children get medical supplies and drinking water. "Safe drinking water can be impossible to find after such a massive natural disaster. And without it, a child will drink whatever water she can find, no matter how dirty or diseased. That drink can quickly lead to diarrhea, disease and death," UNICEF president Caryl M. Stern says.
World Vision: World Vision works in evacuation shelters to get supplies to those who need them.
Catholic Relief Services: CRS is working to get supplies to stricken areas.
Salvation Army: You can donate online for the Salvation Army's relief efforts, or text TYPHOON to 80888 to immediately donate $10 -- Salvation Army is pledging that 100% of donated money goes to the relief effort.
Save the Children: Funds help children and families in the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam --10% of each donation goes to preparing future disasters in the area.
Habitat for Humanity: Shelter-repair kits for families rebuilding their homes are created with donations.
GlobalMedic: This Canada-based organization is working to supply clean water where it is needed.
American Red Cross International Disaster Fund: Click on "Typhoon Appeal" to donte funds for victims of the Super Typhoon
Operation USA: Another organization that does ongoing work in disasters such as the Typhoon
Information for Finding Family and Friends
If you are looking for a friend or relative who was involved in the Super Typhoon this service may be able to help:
Bloomsburg's Red Cross
Bloomsburg American Red Cross Director Rita Inklovich reports that millions of dollars have been sent to help the effort and more will be needed. Chapters such as the Bloomsburg, Berwick and Danville offices will be called upon to raise some of the funds to cover what is currently being spent.
For those who would like to help, she says that fundraising probably remains the only viable avenue. Sending goods is a logistical problem, she says, and it is hoped that funding the purchase of materials in the stricken areas (instead of sending them from the US when possible) will have the added effect of boosting a devastated economy there, as well. Vital Red Cross information includes:
> Those who want to help victims of the Super Typhoon can make a donation to the American Red Cross International Disaster Relief at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Donors can designate their gifts to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief. Mail them or take them to: Bloomsburg Chapter American Red Cross, 119 East 7th Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815.
> Checks or cash can be sent or brought to the Bloomsburg Chapter at 119 East 7th St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815. Make checks payable to American Red Cross and designate them for Typhoon Haiyan or International Disaster Relief.
Donation Advice and Scams
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers advice to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
>Rely on respected experts to evaluate a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers, because they may not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. BBB Charity Reviews show which charities are accredited by BBB and whether they meet BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
>Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fund-raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
>Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Be wary of spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. After the tsunami disaster in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, many websites and organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.
>Find out if the charity has a presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. Check the charity’s website, which should clearly describe what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
>Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
>Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations may not be appropriate. Unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief.
For more information about charities or to get a BBB Charity Review, check with BBB at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
SOLVE can put groups in contact with local organizations already at work on the problem. And SOLVE will continue to network with the community to look for additional relief efforts and will provide information for those who need it. Please contact us with questions at 570-389-4788.