- Hundreds of thousands could seek disaster assistance in the aftermath of Harvey.
- Donations to the Salvation Army and the Red Cross can help provide relief to those affected by the storm.
- The Better Business Bureau cautions against donating to unvetted campaigns raising disaster-relief funds.
The rain may have finally stopped in Houston, but relief efforts are just getting started as devastating flooding has driven tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Americans wanting to pitch in from afar can donate to organizations such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross that are providing disaster assistance to victims affected by Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane but has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Hundreds of thousands could seek help in the aftermath of Harvey, Business Insider reported.
More than 50 inches of rain have fallen in Houston, leaving many areas of the city underwater. The tropical storm also made landfall in Louisiana early Wednesday, where forecasters are expecting up to 10 inches of rain.
Donations to the Salvation Army to support the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made:
- Online at helpsalvationarmy.org.
- By calling 1-800- SAL-ARMY.
- By texting STORM to 51555.
To see how your donations are being put to use in the field, the organization provides disaster updates as well.
The Salvation Army has provided shelter, food, and clothing to victims in Houston. In other hard-hit cities, volunteers have been assisting in the efforts to rescue victims as floodwaters rapidly rise.
"As the situation in south Texas continues to worsen following Hurricane Harvey's landfall, the Salvation Army has activated all of its US and Canadian emergency disaster response assets," said Maj. C. Mark Brown, the director of business operations for the Salvation Army's Texas division. "These units are able to provide food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual care to those impacted by this ongoing, devastating weather event."
Donations to the Red Cross to support the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can be made:
- Online at redcross.org.
- By calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
- By texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Red Cross is similarly helping those affected by Harvey, with hundreds of trained volunteers providing meals and shelter for victims, including enough cots and blankets to support more than 20,000 people.
"We are launching our largest hurricane relief effort in years, and with the help of our partners, we are ready to shelter thousands of people," said Brad Kieserman, the vice president of disaster services operations and logistics for the Red Cross.
Last year, a ProPublica investigation revealed shortcomings in assistance provided by the Red Cross, but the charity's response to the criticisms underscored the complexity and challenges of responding to natural disasters.
Use caution when donating, the Better Business Bureau warns
While financial donations to reputable organizations can help provide assistance to Texans in need, the Better Business Bureau and Give.org advise caution when donating to organizations that have not been vetted and do not have a history of providing disaster relief.
"The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey prompts us to do what we can to help as soon as possible," said H. Art Taylor, the president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, "but donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that their generosity will get to those in need quickly."
So-called storm chasers looking to capitalize on the disaster may launch crowdfunding appeals, according to the BBB. If you see a suspicious campaign, you can report it to the BBB Scam Tracker, or to the Texas attorney general's hotline at 800-621-0508 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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