The Latest on Hurricane Florence and What You Can Do to Help
About a week ago, Hurricane Florence began ravaging the southeastern US coastline. Virginia, South Carolina, and predominately North Carolina have been the hardest hit. Record levels of rainfall and flooding have led to the deaths of at least 37 people and property damage estimated in billions of dollars. As of Tuesday, almost 200,000 people still don’t have power. Homes and whole areas of cities are literally under water.
Though the storm has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, it is still moving northeast. Much of the major flooding in North Carolina is coming from the overflow of several rivers and the nearly three feet of rainfall that hit some areas.
To make matters worse, there are serious concerns about whether or not the dams will hold. According to the Associated Press, 185 of the 1,445 dams in North Carolina were rated as poor or unsatisfactory during recent assessments. If that weren’t enough, there are concerns about tornados attacking North Carolina and Virginia.
Chaos and confusion breeds misinformation at the worst possible time. It has gotten so bad that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has had to set up a Hurricane Florence Rumor Control website. Rumor in a time of crisis can be deadly. For instance, there was a rumor that beach sand should be used for sandbagging, to stop flooding. As the Rumor Control website explains, emergency management services are warning people not to use beach sand. Not only is it still dangerous to go towards the beach, but the sand their acts as a natural barrier. Removing it can make things much worse.
What You Can Do to Help
Your first instinct may be to donate supplies. Your heart is in the right place, but doing so can actually be detrimental to the recovery effort. Supplies are more difficult to ship, store, catalog, and distribute. Unless an organization is asking for specific supplies, your best bet is to donate to a reputable relief organization.
Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people. Unfortunately, there are those who would try to use the devastation of Florence to profit. Fake relief donation scams are a very real thing and should be avoided at all costs. The best way to do this is to go with a well-known organization, or heavily vet any of the others you are considering. For your benefit, we’ve compiled a short list of places where your money can do the most good.
The Big Three
GoFundMe has set up a page of verified relief campaigns that you can look through and choose from.
World Hope International
World Hope International is actually based in Virginia and is working on the front lines to distribute supplies.
Operation BBQ Relief
Operation BBQ Relief helps to feed those who have been pushed out of their homes by the storm, as well as the relief workers diligently attempting to help them. Not only are they accepting donations, but they are also looking for volunteers to help go into the affected areas when they are cleared and deemed safe.
GlobalGiving’s Florence relief fund is designed to provide the immediate necessities like food, water, shelter, and hygiene products and then transition into supporting long-term recovery projects.
The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund
So far, North Carolina has been hit the hardest. The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is accepting both cash donations as well as volunteers. You can text Florence to 20222, mail your contribution to North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, 20312 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 or donate online.
You can find a more comprehensive list of vetted organizations here. Any amount you can give helps, so long as it’s going to the right place. Please keep the affected areas in your thoughts; it’s going to be a long road to recovery.