Syrian Humanitarian Relief
CharityWatch, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, announces a list of highly efficient charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria.
Extreme violence in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 191,000 people since conflicts began in March 2011. The Syrian Medical Association estimates that an additional 200,000 people have died from illnesses due to lack of access to medicine or adequate medical treatment. Sixty percent of Syria's hospitals and medical centers have been severely damaged or destroyed since conflicts began, and one third of Syria's water treatment facilities have broken down. Access to vaccines has plummeted, resulting in a rise of preventable deadly illnesses, including polio and meningitis. (Image: © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0153/Tiku)
As many as 12.2 million Syrian people are in need of emergency assistance. As of early 2015, the violence has displaced 7.6 million people within Syria. According to the United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees 3.7 million Syrians are registered as refugees seeking assistance in neighboring countries—including Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey—and the total number of people fleeing Syria may be much higher than that. Distribution of aid within Syria is difficult, and the large number of refugees into neighboring countries has overwhelmed social service providers.
These 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 shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, etc...
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with humanitarian relief efforts should send contributions to only those 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. Only give to legitimate charities with a track record of being able to help people in need.
Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, Craigslist, Indiegogo, etc... These are likely to be fraudsters, who may even be from another country and out of reach of our US regulatory system. Even if they are legitimate victims they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
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 charities, which are providing humanitarian relief to Syrians, that 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.