Syrian Humanitarian Relief
(Image: © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0153/Tiku)
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, 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 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 will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, Craigslist, Generosity by Indiegogo, etc... These are likely to be fraudsters, who may 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.