Hurricane Florence Relief

Posted on September 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 has caused catastrophic and historic flooding and continues to wreak havoc as it slowly moves north. In some areas, over 30 inches of rain have fallen. The National Weather Service warns 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 have been reported, and about 500,000 homes and businesses remain without power in North and South Carolina. Tens of thousands of homes have been 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 have been reported in North Carolina alone, according to the governor's office. Wilmington, N.C., 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 remain under flood watches or warnings as Florence heads 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 warns of the sustained risk from life-threatening flooding, landslides, downed trees and power lines, and urges people to follow local evacuation orders.

This is a developing story and updates will be posted as they become available.

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, 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.

People need to be on guard concerning the 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.

Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals that purport 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. (For more related to crowdfunding sites, see CharityWatch's article: Crowdfunding Popularity Continues to Soar Despite Risks to Donors.)

The best way to help is by sending a check. 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 to these nations.

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.

Related Charities

All Hands VolunteersA+
American HumaneA
American Kidney FundA+
American Red CrossB+
Church World ServiceB+
Direct Relief & Direct Relief FoundationA
Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentA
Habitat for Humanity International (National Office)B+
International Medical CorpsA
MAP InternationalB+
Medical Teams InternationalB+
Mercy CorpsA
Navy-Marine Corps Relief SocietyA
Operation USAA-
Samaritan's PurseA-
Save the ChildrenA
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)A+
World VisionA-

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