Pakistani Flood Relief
Heavy rains with flooding in Pakistan began July 22, 2010 and continued into mid-September. The United Nations reports that the Pakistan flooding is the worst natural disaster it has ever responded to in its 65 years. Severe flooding has affected 20 million people, with a death toll surpassing 1,800. An estimated 12.4 million people are still in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The flooding has destroyed homes, herds, and crops. Aid has been difficult to deliver to the hardest-hit areas because the water has rendered many roads and bridges impassable.
CharityWatch announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Pakistan flood relief efforts. CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims and receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.
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Top-rated charities perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch 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.
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help relief efforts in Pakistan should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region.
Donors should be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages from individuals claiming to be victims of the disaster. CharityWatch advises against giving directly to such individuals and urges donors to contribute to charities involved in disaster relief efforts. The charities are better equipped to identify individual victims and direct assistance and aid appropriately.
As always, exercise precaution when donating online. To ensure that the website is legitimate, verify that the organization's website address is the exact same address that is displayed in your browser's address bar. Even the slightest variation (such as the use of underscores instead of dashes between words) may indicate an imposter. If there is any doubt, call the charity to confirm the correct website address. It is best to manually type in the organization's website address in the address bar because simply clicking a link in an email or on an unfamiliar website may take you to a fraudulent website.
Look for a padlock icon (your browser may use another symbol) on the bottom right hand corner of your screen to determine whether a site is secure for credit card donations. If there is any concern about the site's legitimacy or security, call the charity. Some charities may use an outside Internet credit card vendor to process credit card donations. Again, the donor should verify this before contributing online.
Due to the magnitude of this disaster, it is important to be especially aware that disreputable, fly-by-night “charities” are set up 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, after the 2004 Asian tsunami, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.