Darfur Emergency Relief
In March 2009, the government of Sudan expelled 13 aid agencies from the Darfur region, including Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders-Holland, and the International Rescue Committee. Care International, Mercy Corps, and Save the Children—which were previously expelled—have been allowed to return, according to a 6/12/09 BBC News report. These charities can be contacted to find out the current status of their Darfur aid operations.
Fighting between the Sudanese government and rebel forces has intensified, forcing more civilians to flee. Over three years of warfare have resulted in about 300,000 dead and 2 million refugees, one third of Darfur's population. About 4 million people are now dependent on aid in this crisis, which has spread from Sudan to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. Only half of those affected by the crisis are receiving clean water and basic health care, according to the United Nations. Malnutrition, rape and other violence, and limited sanitation are also causing widespread suffering in this crisis.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities offering aid to the estimated 2 million people that have fled to refugee camps. CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following 14 relief charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency:
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All of these charities perform favorably in relation to AIP’s benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) Charities 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 relief, health care, infrastructure development, education, etc.
Americans wanting to help people facing a humanitarian crisis in Western Sudan and Chad should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region. During a highly publicized crisis, it is common for disreputable, fly-by-night “charities” to take advantage of the public’s generosity.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed type 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, during the Bosnian War (1992–1996), 37.5 million pounds of inappropriate medicines were donated.