Just weeks after Hurricane Irma ransacked the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria is pummeling the region.
Maria, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on Puerto Rico since 1932, devastated the island on Wednesday, killing at least 10, knocking out electricity and soaking towns. “It is nothing short of a major disaster,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said on CNN.
But Puerto Rico wasn’t alone. The storm was responsible for more than a dozen deaths on Dominica and at least a few more on Guadeloupe, and it caused widespread property damage and power failures.
Here is a list of groups providing aid to victims.
While its main focus is on promoting innovation by connecting Puerto Ricans abroad to those on the island, this local nonprofit has also started a fund to help victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The crowdfunding website maintains a list of verified campaigns, many of them local, collecting donations for victims of the storm. Donors can give to a campaign or directly to GoFundMe, which will then distribute the money to the campaigns.
This initiative, from Beatriz Rosselló, the first lady of Puerto Rico, enlists private sector help in providing aid to those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Donations are accepted through a variety of means, including PayPal.
National and Global Charities
Each group below has earned the top rating, four stars, from Charity Navigator, which grades charities based on transparency and financial health.
All Hands works with local volunteers and groups to respond to natural disasters. With Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, it is focusing its efforts on the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our help is needed in the islands, so that’s where we’ll be,” said Erik Dyson, the group’s chief executive.
The relief and development organization, which provides health services to those in need, said that it was working with officials in Puerto Rico to stock emergency shelters with medical supplies. Earlier in the week, it had airlifted $1.8 million worth of medicine and supplies to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Donations to the faith-based group will help to provide shelter, water, tarps, tents, kitchen kits and other supplies to families affected by the storm, it said.
Another faith-based initiative, Convoy of Hope provides food, water and emergency supplies to those in need throughout the world.
Direct Relief reported that it was working with local authorities to deliver a shipment of medicine and medical supplies to islands in the region. It also said it was working to provide insulin to 120 displaced dialysis patients.
This crowdfunding website connects donors to nonprofits and companies around the world. Donations will be spent first on the immediate needs of victims and then on longer-term recovery efforts “run by local, vetted organizations,” according to the website.
The group has been working with local authorities to provide emergency care after Hurricane Irma and said it had moved medical supplies into place ahead of Hurricane Maria.
Don’t Forget to Ask Questions
It’s important to research charities to fully understand how they might — or might not — spend your money. Charity Navigator, as we mentioned, is a good resource.
But high ratings may not always be enough. Despite earning three stars from Charity Navigator, the American Red Cross has faced strong criticism in recent years for its response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, stemming from a ProPublica and National Public Radio investigation that suggested that the group had badly mismanaged its efforts. (The Red Cross has disputed the criticism.) The organization also recently apologized for temporarily suspending registrations for financial assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey.