Hurricane Florence Relief
Sep 13, 2018
CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to Hurricane Florence victims.
Updated on September 18, 2018
Hurricane Florence, one of the strongest storms to hit the Eastern Seaboard in decades, made landfall in North Carolina in the early hours of September 14th as a Category 1 storm. Though downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, within days Florence caused catastrophic and historic flooding and continued to wreak havoc as it slowly moved north. In some areas, over 30 inches of rain have fallen. The National Weather Service warned the flooding will only get worse in some parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia as rivers continue to rise. As of September 18th, 32 storm-related deaths were reported, and about 500,000 homes and businesses did not have power in North and South Carolina. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged.
Despite mandatory evacuation orders for over one million people in the Carolinas and Virginia, hundreds were trapped by flood waters. Over 900 water rescues were reported in North Carolina alone, according to the governor's office. Wilmington, NC, a city of around 120,000 people, was entirely cut off by flood waters, making emergency efforts extremely difficult. The Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence, and tens of millions of people remained under flood watches or warnings as Florence headed north to parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England.
Before the storm's landfall, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned: "The larger and slower the storm is, the greater the threat and impact, and we have that here." The National Weather Service warned of the sustained risk from life-threatening flooding, landslides, downed trees and power lines, and urged people to follow local evacuation orders.
The Related Charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, rebuilding efforts, etc.
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.
- Be on guard for a surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.
- Do not respond to, or click on any attachments, links or pictures included in, emails or text messages received from unknown senders.
- Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals purporting to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
- Scammers may try to use copy-cat names similar to those of well-known charities. Avoid name confusion by independently verifying that the charity is legitimate before you donate. Reputable charities will not pressure you to give immediately.
- Beware of individuals or others claiming to be third party intermediaries for charities or those in need. It is best to give directly only to the charities that you are confident are legitimate and recognized for providing disaster or humanitarian relief.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The best way to help is by sending a check or donating securely by credit card. Such cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent.
CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing relief to Hurricane Florence victims and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.