How to help those impacted by Irma

Relief efforts get underway after the storm pummeled Florida and the Caribbean.

ByABC News
September 11, 2017, 7:44 AM

— -- Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida Sunday, days after the powerful storm's winds and rain devastated many islands in the Caribbean.

Many humanitarian organizations are still reeling from the massive devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated Houston with deadly floodwater less than two weeks ago.

Here are some ways to help those impacted by Irma. All of the charity organizations below have been approved by the nonprofit group Charity Navigator as highly-rated organizations that are currently responding to areas affected by Irma.

American Red Cross

"The Red Cross has mobilized its second massive hurricane response in two weeks to help people affected by Hurricane Irma," the organization said in a statement on its website. "Relief efforts stretch from the U.S. Virgin Islands through Florida to the mid-Atlantic region."

The American Red Cross is accepting donations to help with Irma relief efforts on its website and by phone at 1- 800-RED CROSS. People can also text the word "IRMA" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Catholic Relief Services

This international humanitarian organization that is affiliated with the U.S. Catholic church and headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, has already begun responding to the devastation in the Caribbean, providing shelter, water, hygiene kits and other supplies to those displaced by Irma. Information on how to donate and where the funds are being allocated is available on its website.

Direct Relief

The NGO Direct Relief has staff already stationed in Miami, ready to respond to medical needs that arise across Florida, according to its website, where information on how to help is available.

Heart to Heart International

Heart to Heart International, which focuses on providing access to health care, is preparing a disaster team and Mobile Medical Unit to respond in Florida and other parts of the U.S. where Irma hits, according to its website.


"Hurricane Irma has already caused significant damage, and millions more people live in its path. Our relief workers are on the ground in several different locations, coordinating with partners and standing ready to help address health needs resulting from the storm,” Garrett Ingoglia, Americares' vice president of emergency response, said in a statement on the group's website, which is currently accepting donations.


The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund has already begun responding to Irma's devastation in the Caribbean. The humanitarian group, which focuses on advocating for children, is also preparing for its response to those affected in the U.S. The group is accepting donations via text and on its website.

Samaritan’s Purse

The non-demonimational Christian organization has already responded on the ground, bringing critical supplies to those affected by Irma in St. Maarten, and announced on its website that it is "ready to go" in Florida. Donations can be submitted on its website.

Other ways to help

ABC News' technology and consumer correspondent Becky Worley shared additional ways to help survivors of Irma, besides donating money.

Worley advised that many charities and relief organizations have advised against donating large amounts of clothing or goods because of infrastructure challenges that arise when people are displaced.

Instead, one way to help out is to open your home to displaced families or relief workers. The website Airbnb can match people who have spare rooms with those who are displaced or helping with relief efforts.

Another way to help without donating money is to volunteer your time during the relief efforts. Worley recommends finding an organization that matches your individual skill set, or calling your local chapter of big volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross or Catholic Charities, for example.

Finally, another way to help communities affected by the storm is to take in a pet that was transported out of an area affected by Irma.

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