On Dec. 26, a massive earthquake rattled the seabed off the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The resulting tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean, increasing in height as it reached the shore. Entire coastal villages and low-lying islands situated in and around the Indian Ocean were decimated. The affected region extends from Malaysia, Thailand and Burma in the east to Somalia and Kenya in the west. Indonesia and Sri Lanka suffered the greatest loss of life.
With search-and-rescue operations wrapping up, relief efforts are now turning toward the millions of survivors in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter and medical care. The aid and goodwill pouring in from across the globe has indeed been heartening, but more assistance is still needed and will be for some time to come. Aid experts say that because of logistical reasons, donations of money - both for immediate relief and for rebuilding efforts - are more urgently needed than gifts of clothes, blankets and food.
A number of sites have been set up to match people like you with organizations helping victims of the Asian tsunami. CNN, Yahoo! and USAID, the federal agency responsible for providing humanitarian and economic assistance, have all compiled lists of charities engaged in relief efforts. Wikipedia's list features directories to aid groups compiled by media outlets in the affected countries.
Before donating to any organization, check out the ePhilanthropy Foundation's Tips for Online Giving, which above all recommend donors give to legitimate charities they know well. Charity Navigator ranks more than 3,400 charities according to their financial health. Guidestar
and the American Institute of Philanthropy
also provide free information about charities and give you an idea of how well groups will spend your money.
To help you get started, we've compiled a list of established charities actively involved in relief efforts for victims of the Asian tsunami. Click on the links below to be taken directly to their Asian tsunami donation pages.