Syrian Humanitarian Relief
(Image: © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0153/Tiku)
CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria and to the many Syrian refugees.
Syria’s raging civil war headed into its eighth year in March 2018. The extreme violence in Syria has claimed the lives of 470,000 people since conflicts began in 2011, according to a February 2016 report from the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Of the 470,000 deaths, 400,000 resulted directly from violence, while 70,000 resulted from consequences of war: collapse of healthcare infrastructure, lack of access to medicine, poor sanitation, spread of communicable diseases, decreased vaccinations, food shortages, and malnutrition. A 2017 World Bank report states that about one-third of Syria’s housing and one-half of Syria's hospitals and medical centers have been severely damaged or destroyed. Plus, many of the country’s utilities and water and sanitation systems have been ravaged.
Currently, as many as 13.1 million Syrian people are in need of emergency aid. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 5.6 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. The violence has also displaced 6.1 million people within Syria where the distribution of aid is difficult. Humanitarian access is severely limited due to the continued instability, and almost 3 million people are stuck in hard to reach areas where it is extremely difficult to supply aid on a regular basis. The Syrian conflict has created the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
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 humanitarian 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 may include fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals or organizations that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, YouCaring, etc. These could be fraudsters, who may also be from another country and out of the reach of our U.S. regulatory system. Even if they are legitimate, 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.)
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 Top-Rated charities, which are providing humanitarian relief to Syrians 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.