How to Make Sure Your Hurricane Irma Donation Goes to the Right Place (Video)
Airlines, cruise ships, and locals have been contributing to the relief effort since the record-breaking Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Florida over the weekend.
The category 4 storm touched down Sunday, causing torrential rain, flooding, and power outages that have affected nearly 6 million residences and businesses.
Royal Caribbean is sending two cruise ships to the Caribbean to aid residents who were ravaged by the storm last week, Fortune reported. Norwegian Cruise Line has also mobilized a ship to St. Thomas to deliver supplies.
U.S airlines aided in efforts in Florida by airlifting evacuees from the state. Delta and JetBlue capped flight prices to ensure that people could afford to leave.
“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw told Reuters.
The U.S. military launched amphibious relief efforts in the Caribbean, using five warships, helicopters, cargo aircraft, and thousands of pounds of supplies, The Washington Post reported.
The efforts in the Caribbean come as the islands brace for Hurricane José, a storm that is expected to be far weaker than Hurricane Irma. While it will likely be nowhere near as damaging, it will possibly stall aid to the area, according to The New York Times.
Florida is launching a huge relief effort to test the integrity of bridges in the Florida keys, assess the downing of power lines throughout the state, and begin rebuilding homes and businesses, BBC reported.
Whenever making a donation to a charity, donors should follow the USAID's Center for International Disaster Information guidelines on how to best participate in disaster relief, which is usually donating money instead of objects. Donors can also check sites like GuideStar, CharityNavigator, and CharityWatch to determine an organization's credibility.
The Miami Herald has provided an exhaustive list of organizations to donate to, both in Florida and the Caribbean, including United Way of Miami Dade, ConPRmetidos in Puerto Rico, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Salvation Amy.
For those looking to donate time or other services, non-profit blood bank One Blood is accepting donations nation-wide, and FEMA has issued a call for volunteers who are in the immediate area of southern Florida.
Volunteer Florida and Charity Navigator also offer comprehensive lists of organizations for donation and ways to volunteer in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Travel agencies have participated in the relief effort, with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) launching a GoFundMe to raise money for rebuilding. Tourism Cares has launched a campaign to donate to regions across the Caribbean that have been affected by the storm.