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Hurricane Ida Relief

   Sep 01, 2021

ATTENTION: The charities listed in this alert were Top-Rated by CharityWatch at the time of its publication. CharityWatch updates our ratings throughout the year. To see if a particular charity is currently Top-Rated, please click on its name, below.

Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021 as a powerful Category 4 storm, was the fifth-largest hurricane to hit the U.S. Ida’s maximum sustained winds topped 150 mph, and along with its storm surge and torrential rainfall, Ida has left a trail of devastating flooding and structural damage as it continues to move northeast. Alabama and Tennessee have faced heavy rains and flash flooding, and as the storm makes its way through the Mid-Atlantic region, it is producing tornado watches and warnings and more flash floods.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, more than a million residents and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were without power, including the entire city of New Orleans. Certain parts were also facing shortages of drinking water. Officials reportedly expect that power outages in some residential areas could last for weeks. Complicating things for storm victims is that Louisiana’s hospitals were already capacity-strained before the hurricane due to COVID-19, and many hospitals reportedly have had to be evacuated because of storm damage or failing backup generators.

The total damage and economic loss from Hurricane Ida could reach $70–$80 billion, according to a reported estimate from AccuWeather.

The list below includes CharityWatch Top-Rated charities that report providing direct aid or other support to help provide relief and assistance for victims of Hurricane Ida.

The 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.

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.

See CharityWatch's 10 Tips for Giving in a Crisis for additional advice about donating to help victims while avoiding frauds and scams.

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 assistance for Hurricane Ida 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 assistance operations now underway.

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