Charities and relief groups were already in overdrive responding to a punishing hurricane season when monster storm Maria ripped through the Caribbean last month.
The hurricane caused staggering damage in Dominica before moving on to Puerto Rico, where it left the U.S. territory in shambles — devastation so extensive that officials say it could take months for the fragile power grid to be up and running and decades for the island to recover. The storm also caused damage elsewhere in the Caribbean, including the U.S Virgin Islands.
You can donate to some of these groups helping storm victims:
Americares, a global health organization, has emergency teams deployed to Puerto Rico and Dominica. The group is working with the Puerto Rico Department of Health to stock emergency shelters in San Juan with medical equipment and supplies.
World Vision pre-positioned supplies such as water and hygiene kits in warehouses near the communities in the path of the storm. The Christian humanitarian organization is working with local partners to distribute those supplies in Puerto Rico and beyond.
The American Red Cross has launched a multi-island relief effort with government officials and disaster partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the group's efforts: Deploying relief supplies such as water, rice, beans, insect repellent and home repair kits and shipping satellite phones to assist with communications.
The Salvation Army is working with local and national partners, such as UPS, to send relief kits with water, food and other supplies to areas in need. In Puerto Rico, the group says it is delivering about 5,000 meals per day and 8,000 relief supplies per day from locations in Loiza, Fajardo, Humacao and San Juan.
The International Medical Corps is providing emergency medical care, access to clean water and proper sanitation to ward off cholera and other water-borne diseases.
All Hands Volunteers is sponsoring community projects in the Virgin Islands, such as clearing paths to natural springs so people without their own water source can flush and shower.
GoFundMe has created a centralized hub to host all campaigns for those affected by Maria. Campaigns include an initiative started by college students called "Students with Puerto Rico" and the "Mirta & Angelo hurricane relief" — a campaign created for a woman's great-grandparents, 80 and 84, who are living "in the shell of a home" they have left south of San Juan.
Project HOPE, an international health care organization, has deployed a team to Puerto Rico, which includes doctors, nurses and mental health specialists, to deliver medicines and supplies and offer health expertise and medical training.
The New York Foundling, one of New York's oldest child-welfare agencies, is working to get the group's 42 locations in Puerto Rico up and running again so they can distribute emergency supplies. The organization serves nearly 1,500 children through Head Start programs on the island that feed and educate children.
Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian aid agency, has deployed an emergency response team to Puerto Rico targeting access to cash, clean water and other supplies for hurricane victims.
Save the Children, an international agency that supports children's rights and needs, is in San Juan and is distributing items such as tarps, diapers, wipes and soap. The group is also creating safe spaces for children in emergency shelters.
Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog that appraises charities based on their tax filings, lists 10 groups responding to Maria that hold a three- or four-star rating. You can find the list here. The group advises people to research relief organizations before making a donation.
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