The death toll from the tsunami has passed 120,000 people. As it continues to climb, aid continues to increase as well. Amazon has raised over $8 million for the American Red Cross, the World Bank has offered $250 million in tsunami aid to the UN, and members of Congress are preparing an aid package, in addition to the $35 million already pledged by the President.
Sadly, fears of another tsunami from a false warning created panic in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Tsunami relief scams have already started to appear. Captain Ed points to a New York Sun article which reports that bogus websites claiming to collect aid for the victims of Sunday’s disaster and other scams on the internet have begun to spring up.
On eBay, sellers are hawking Pez dispensers, a gold necklace, a stuffed mouse, and a “hand-carved” Buddha statue with the promise that proceeds from the auctions will go directly to charities assisting the victims of the tsunami in Asia.
Visitors to tsunamireliefaid.com are directed to a crudely constructed Web site with photographs of those who appear to be tsunami victims and instructions urging users to send relief packages and $10 checks to a P.O. box in Germantown, Md.
Donald Sensing also posts that a scam email is making the rounds asking for donations from an anonymous relief organization.
If you wish to donate, be sure that you are donating to a reputable organization. As I have mentioned before, Amazon.com is collecting donations for the American Red Cross. Hugh Hewitt and several others are recommending World Vision, and Rev. Sensing also points to the United Methodist Committee on Relief which has set up a specific fund to direct monies to the relief efforts. USAID, the U.S. government agency responsible for economic and humanitarian assistance around the world, has compiled a list of the agencies USAID works with that are accepting donations for the earthquake/tsunami victims.
Don’t be afraid to give; just make sure the organization you give to is going to get the aid to the victims. And when you give, please be generous.
MORE: The Command Post has a roundup of links to aid agencies accepting donations to support disaster relief efforts. Lots of helpful information in the comments to that post, as well.