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Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti: How To Help

The U.S. State Department Operations Center said Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call 1-888-407-4747. Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

For those interesting in helping immediately there are 2 ways people can donate via their cell phones:

Text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Text "YELE" to "501501" and a donation of $5 will be made automatically to the Yele organization (Wyclef Jean's Haiti relief organization)

Below is a collection of charitable organizations also accepting donations towards the relief effort in Haiti. We will update this list as more charity information becomes available

Action Against Hunger
American Red Cross
American Jewish World Service
Beyond Borders
Catholic Relief Services
Childcare Worldwide
Church World Service
Direct Relief International
Doctors Without Borders
Episcopal Relief & Development Haiti Fund
Feed My Starving Children

Food for the Poor
Friends of WFP
Haiti Children
Haiti Marycare
Haitian Health Foundation
Hope for Haiti
International Medical Corps
International Relief Teams
International Rescue Committee
Medical Teams International
Meds and Food for Kids
Mennonite Central Committee
Mercy Corps
Operation Blessing
Operation USA
Oxfam International
Partners in Health
Rural Haiti Project
The Salvation Army
Samaritan's Purse
Save the Children
World Concern
World Relief
World Vision
Yele Haiti

The FBI urges people who are looking for ways to help with earthquake relief to be wary of solicitations that could be from scam artists.

"Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization or a good cause," the FBI says today, in passing along these tips:

-Ignore unsolicited e-mails, and do not click on links within those messages.

-Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

-Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain computer viruses. Open attachments only from know senders.

-Decline to give personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.

-Make contributions directly to known organizations, rather than relying on others who claim in e-mails that they will channel the donation to established groups.

The FBI says anyone receipting an e-mail that appears to be a scam should forward it to this website: www.ic3.gov