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How to help Indonesia tsunami victims: 8 things you can do that take less than 8 minutes

How to help Indonesia tsunami victims: 8 things you can do that take less than 8 minutes
[Photo: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images]

A massive tsunami hit Indonesia on Saturday. Without any warning, a wall of water flattened communities on its two most populous islands (Sumatra and Java), killed at least 429 people, and injured hundreds more. The disaster comes only a few months after an earthquake and tsunami in September killed over 2,000 people and displaced some 206,000 people on the island of Sulawesi.

The tsunami was apparently triggered by underwater landslides caused by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in the Sunda Strait that lies between the two hard-hit islands. On Wednesday, Indonesian authorities warned that the continued eruption of Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatau” volcano, could trigger an additional tsunami, according to Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

For now, though, relief teams are on the ground aiding authorities to find the missing, clear debris, and provide basic needs, while rescue teams use drones and dogs to help find the more than 100 people who are still missing. If you want to help, experts say sending money is usually the most efficient assistance in a disaster. Here are a few charities working in Indonesia right now:

  • Catholic Relief Services is supporting both the government and local partner organizations to reach affected families and provide relief and assistance. The group has a 4 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • Islamic Relief USA has sent a team to survey the damage directly and is on the ground providing aid to survivors, including emergency water, food, and medical aid. It also has a malnutrition project in Indonesia. The group has a 4 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • Doctors Without Borders has a team on the ground in the affected areas helping to support local healthcare providers in the aftermath of the tsunami, in addition to their long-term work in Pandeglang, Indonesia. The group has a 4 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • GlobalGiving, which funnels donations to local organizations, has many options for helping in Indonesia, whether specifically for tsunami and earthquake recovery, or for other worthy causes like orangutan rescue or saving slow lorises or saving street kids from a life of poverty. GlobalGiving has a 4 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • UNICEF USA is on the ground in Indonesia, accompanying authorities as they assess the damage and its impact on children. They are ready to assist children and families, when the government gives them the green light, as per their mandate. The group has a 3 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • Red Cross volunteers, including those from the local outpost, the Indonesian Red Cross, are helping in the affected area. They are assisting in search and rescue, distributing drinking water, dispatching Red Cross ambulances to transport people to hospitals, and doling out hygiene, cooking, and cleaning supplies to people who have lost or cannot return to their homes. They are also sending helicopters to drop supplies to hard-to-reach communities along the coastlines of western Java and south Sumatra. The American Red Cross has a 3 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • Oxfam is working with the government and local organizations to provide clean water, build toilets, and distribute hygiene kits that include items like blankets and soap to people affected by the tsunami. The group has a 3 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
  • International Medical Corps is working with a local aid organization to assess the most urgent needs of those affected. The group has a 3 out of 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.
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