6 Powerful Ways To Help Disaster Survivors This Holiday Season

Discover six ways you can help disaster survivors who have their lost homes and ways of life this year.


Thousands killed by an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Entire neighborhoods wiped off the map by Hurricane Michael. Forty landslides triggered by a single super typhoon in the Philippines.

The headlines may have faded, but recovery for communities affected by this year’s record-breaking disaster season is just getting started. What can you do?

Here are six ways you can help disasters survivors over the holidays:

    1. Support the most vulnerable.

    Disasters disproportionately impact the poor, the elderly, and women and children. Did you know: a staggering 50-60% poor and minority families in rural Texas were still struggling to recover one year after Hurricane Harvey, while recovery rates were much higher for Texans overall? Support a nonprofit, such as Tahirih Justice Center or Circle of Health International, that focuses on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable populations in the aftermath of disasters.

    2. Prevent disease.

    Disease outbreak is one of the most potent post-disaster risks for survivors, and the threat is greater in developing countries with inadequate sanitation and a shortage of safe drinking water. Support a nonprofit, such as MAP International or SIBAT, Inc., that prevents disease outbreaks in disaster-impacted communities.

    3. Rebuild destroyed and damaged homes.

    This disaster season, thousands of survivors lost the homes they’d worked all their lives to build in a matter of seconds. Many don’t have flood insurance, were denied federal aid, or only receive a sliver of what they need to fully recover. Support a nonprofit, such as Cooperacion Comunitaria A.C. or St. Thomas Recovery Team, that helps survivors rebuild.

    4. Provide mental health services.

    Sister Nancy Madden studied PTSD in books, but she never thought she’d suffer from it. She knows better now, after living through Hurricane Maria in the small beach town of Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico. “Almost everyone in Punta Santiago has PTSD, including me. When it rains, I get a tight chest. I can’t breathe. Everybody is living with some of that,” she said. Several GlobalGiving partners, including Madden’s nonprofit, P.E.C.E.S. and IsraAID, are providing mental health support to survivors in disaster-affected communities.

    5. Give to local nonprofits—they’ll be there for the long haul.

    They’re often led by people who live and work in disaster-affected communities. They’ll be there long after news cameras have left, and they know what their communities need better than anyone else. Yet, local nonprofits are consistently underfunded and under-resourced in comparison with their larger, international counterparts. That’s why the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving exists—to expand the flow of resources to local nonprofits. Learn more.

    6. Donate cash, not stuff.

    Survivors’ needs vary greatly from disaster to disaster and even day to day. That means your donated stuff may go to waste because it isn’t what survivors need, or worse, it may slow relief efforts, diverting staff attention from urgent tasks or clogging airport runways. Learn more about why cash is best in this infographic.

This holiday season, you can make a general donation to any of our disaster recovery funds, and our team will make sure it meets survivors’ most urgent needs.

Hurricane Michael | Indonesia Earthquake + Tsunami | Hurricane Florence | Typhoon Mangkhut


See a full list of disaster relief funds that need your support now.

Featured Photo: Rebuild Livelihoods after Philippines Typhoon Mangkhut by Peace Winds America

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