Cities are in ruins. Thousands of people likely are dead. Tens of thousands more are refugees. Parts of the United States' Gulf Coast now look like a Third-World country.
The victims of Hurricane Katrina need help, and it is coming from around the world, including Alaska.
National Guard and Coast Guard posts in Alaska have responded. The Red Cross and Salvation Army have taken their usual places at the forefront of the relief effort, with generous volunteers like Victor Hett of Kenai, Marty Radvansky of Soldotna and Carla Stanley of Homer answering the call.
Not everyone has to head South to be of assistance. Charitable organizations offer ways to aid relief efforts. This list, compiled by the Associated Press, is just a few ways donations can be made to help hurricane victims:
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, (800) HELP NOW or online at http://www.redcross.org/
Catholic Charities, USA, (800) 919-9338 or online at http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/
The Salvation Army, (800) SAL-ARMY or online at http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/
United Methodist Committee on Relief, (800) 554-8583 or online at http://gbgm-umc.org/
As disgusting as it sounds, the unscrupulous seek ways to benefit off disasters like this. Already the American Association of Retired Persons is issuing warnings that con artists are looking to steal money and credit card numbers from unsuspecting donors through fake fund-raisers and phony Web sites. One way to be sure donations are going where they're intended is to donate to agencies recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The list can be found online at http://www.fema.gov/rrr/help2.shtm. Also check out the list of members of InterAction, a coalition of relief agencies, at www.interaction.org.
In a disaster as devastating as this, there is almost no end of ways to help. Unfortunately, there also seems to be no end of need.
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