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How to help typhoon victims

In the aftermath of the typhoon that hit the Philippines Saturday, relief agencies are ramping up appeals for donations to help the more than 600,000 people displaced by the disaster.

In the aftermath of the typhoon that hit the Philippines Saturday, relief agencies are ramping up appeals for donations to help the more than 600,000 people displaced by the disaster.

At the same time, consumer groups such as the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota are warning would-be donors to be careful with where they send money. Scammers will take advantage of disasters such as this one.

Here are some tips from the BBB:

• Do research: Donors should rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating charities not bloggers or websites, which might not have fully researched charities they recommend.

The BBB recommends its own website Give.org and another website, MobileGiving.org, for advice on text message donations. Another website that scrutinizes charities is the charity watchdog group CharityNavigator.org.


• Be wary of electronic solicitations: The agency also warns that emails with attachments claiming to show pictures of disaster areas may contain viruses. They also may link to scam websites.

• Ask the IRS about 501(c)3 groups: If you're concerned about tax deductions, look in IRS Publication 78 on IRS.gov for a list of all organizations that are tax exempt.

The following are some established organizations targeting relief efforts:

• Philippine Red Cross: The American Red Cross is accepting donations for typhoon relief, but you can also go directly to the Philippine Red Cross "Appeal for help for those affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda," as the storm is known in the Philippines. The organization's latest news report says the group has teams on their way to Samar, Leyte and Capiz.

• mGive and Team Rubicon: The U.S. State Department announced on Monday that it is cooperating with the Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief Fund of the mGive Foundation, to coordinate mobile donations. Text AID to 80108 to donate $10. State also said it was coordinating with Team Rubicon to deploy American military veterans to the areas damaged by the typhoon.

• Care: The organization operates in 84 countries to fight poverty, and is pledging to help at least 150,000 typhoon survivors by delivering aid. One of their relief workers, Sandra Bulling, is blogging from the scene. "Here at the airport, there are many aid agencies all desperately trying to get to the area to help. The areas affected are all islands, so they're all difficult to reach even in normal times," she wrote on Sunday.

• World Food Program USA: With widespread flooding and destruction, the World Food Program is concentrating on delivering food aid to the area and has already pledged $2 million for the response. Donations can be made through the website or by texting the word AID to 27722 to instantly donate $10.

• Habitat for Humanity: The group is setting up an initial base in Cebu for its "Re-Build Philippines" campaign and is attempting to help 30,000 families initially with shelter repair kits.


• UNICEF: The U.N. relief agency that focuses on the needs of children says it is ready to airlift more than 66 tons of emergency supplies to the region. Donations can be made at the website or by calling (800) FOR-KIDS or texting RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10.

• Doctors Without Borders: The organization says it is going to focus its efforts first in the area of Leyte province. It already has 15 members in Cebu and will add an additional 50 people in the next few days, including a team the hard-hit city of Tacloban.

• Oxfam: The Oxfam team is on the ground already in the affected region. One team reported seeing children holding up signs saying "Help. We need water, food and medicines."

• World Vision: This Christian humanitarian organization has been working in the Philippines for more than 50 years. It is mobilizing a staff of nearly 500 to help provide food, water and emergency shelter. Its first flight to Manila is due to arrive on Monday, with 5,000 blankets and 3,000 plastic tarps. Text HOPE to 777444 to donate $10.

• International Rescue Committee: The organization is currently working in more than 40 countries, assisting refugees and disaster victims. It has dispatched an emergency team to Manila and has launched a 410 million appeal to help provide clean water and rebuild homes.

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