By Aria Bendix
Hurricane Florence is still sweeping the Carolinas, with the storm now headed toward Virginia on its way to the Atlantic. Rescue teams are continuing their efforts by assisting with evacuations and searching for missing persons. Thus far, a reported 17 people have died due to the storm, and millions more have been left without power in their homes.
While the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical depression, it has prompted flash flood warnings, which could pose an even greater threat in both North and South Carolina. On Saturday, North Carolina Emergency Management said that flood danger was “more immediate” than when the storm made landfall on Friday.
Already, floodwaters have shut down major highways in North Carolina, blocking the state’s main energy provider from some of the hardest-hit coastal communities. The city of Wilmington is now completely cut off from the rest of the state due to submerged roads.
For those looking to help, we’ve compiled a list of reputable organizations that are assisting in relief efforts.
While the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) says that monetary donations are the best way to provide aid, organizations like the American Red Cross and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are also accepting volunteers. The following list encompasses local, national, and international organizations offering a variety of services during the crisis.
Note: It’s not clear whether all of these organizations will spend 100% of donations received on hurricane relief and associated expenses. In past large-scale disasters, they have given high percentages of donations directly to victims, especially if there is a specific fund set up. To avoid scams, it’s always good to research a group before donating by checking scores from independents groups like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch.
Just before Hurricane Florence made landfall, Google announced a $2 million fundraising campaign in support of the Red Cross. The tech company is now matching up to $1 million in donations, all of which will assist the Red Cross in their relief efforts.
Since its inception in 1988, the North Carolina Community Foundation has offered $101 million worth of grants throughout the state. It currently serves 67 counties and is affiliated with 60 different foundations.
Visit their website to find out how you can donate to their relief efforts. The organization’s grants focus on mid- to long-term recovery efforts and do not compete with the efforts of first responders.
Direct Relief is an international humanitarian organization that serves more than 80 countries, including all 50 states in the US. They currently have a perfect score on Charity Watch, which evaluates their financial performance, accountability, and transparency.
At the start of Hurricane Florence, the organization distributed hurricane-specific medicines and supplies in high-risk areas along the coast. They’re also coordinating relief efforts with more than 200 healthcare partners in the area.
Harvest Hope Food Bank is a regional organization serving residents in Columbia, Lexington, Greenville, and Florence, South Carolina. Their website allows you to donate meals to those affected by the crisis (just select “disaster relief” when you fill out their online form). A $10 donation could help provide 50 meals for hurricane victims.
A world leader in disaster relief, the Salvation Army has stayed ahead of the crisis by deploying volunteers from Florida earlier this week. Its mobile feeding units have the capacity to serve 500 to 1,500 meals per day. Visit its website to donate or receive updates on where its services are headed.
Americares is dedicated to improving the health of those affected by poverty or disaster. For the last 40 years, the organization has given more than $15 billion in aid to 164 countries.
Their response team has touched down in North Carolina and is working with partners in the area to provide emergency medical services and long-term humanitarian assistance. For every $10 donation, they provide $100 in aid. To assist their efforts, visit their online donation page.
Those looking to donate medical services might consider giving to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which provides access to healthcare, medications, and supplies during a disaster.
They’re currently accepting monetary donations for Hurricane Florence, or you can email them at [email protected] if you’d like to donate goods such as gas cards, laptops, tablets, blood pressure cuffs, or walkie-talkies.
The Mennonite Disaster Service is a nonprofit volunteer network that responds to natural and man-made disasters in Canada and the US. Their efforts are dedicated to the cleanup, repair, and rebuilding of homes. A $40 daily donation is enough to provide dorm-style lodging, meals, tools, and equipment for one of their volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity has been helping global communities recover from disaster for more than 20 years. The organization is focused on long-term recovery efforts, including sustainable shelter and housing solutions for low-income residents. They are currently accepting donations online.
Mercy Corps has been a key responder to global emergencies over the past 20 years, assisting with relief efforts for the Nepal earthquakes, Philippines typhoon, Haiti earthquake, and other natural disasters. The organization is now working with Team Rubicon, a disaster response team that unites the skills of military veterans and first responders, to assess the damage of Hurricane Florence.
Their Humanitarian Response Fund is currently accepting donations, which will most likely go toward cash assistance for the most vulnerable communities in the Carolinas.
Hurricane Florence could be the costliest storm to ever hit the US, generating more than $170 billion in economic losses for the East Coast. Those looking to make a financial contribution to the crisis might want to check out GlobalGiving, the first and largest global crowdfunding community.
The organization has created a Hurricane Florence Relief Fund, which will go toward immediate food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter, along with long-term recovery projects. You can donate to the fund online, or via the Facebook app.
Around 600,000 pets were killed or displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Already, the Charleston Animal Society has evacuated dozens of dogs in Myrtle Beach ahead of Hurricane Florence, and will continue to support South Carolina’s emergency pet shelters during the crisis. Visit their website to help out.
As of Wednesday, American Humane has evacuated more than 70 cats in South Carolina and is coordinating with multiple shelters along the coast. To aid efforts or receive updates, visit their online donation page.
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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com