Syrian Humanitarian Relief

Posted on June 19, 2017

(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.

Extreme violence in Syria has claimed the lives of 470,000 people since conflicts began in March 2011. 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. Fifty 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 been destroyed.

As many as 13.5 million Syrian people are in need of emergency assistance. As of early 2017, the violence has displaced 6.3 million people within Syria. According to the United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees, 5 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.

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, Generosity by Indiegogo, 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.)

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.

Related Charities

ActionAid USAA-
American Refugee CommitteeA+
Catholic Relief ServicesA+
Church World ServiceB+
Doctors Without Borders USAA
International Medical CorpsA
International Rescue CommitteeA+
Lutheran World ReliefA
Medical Teams InternationalB+
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.A-
Mercy CorpsA
Save the ChildrenA
United States Fund for UNICEFA
World VisionA-

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