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Indonesia Tsunami Relief

   Dec 27, 2018

CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and humanitarian assistance to the tsunami victims in Indonesia.

On December 22nd a massive tsunami hit the coastal areas along the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java. Over 400 people are reported dead. Additionally, more than 150 people are missing, about 1,500 are injured, and an estimated 22,000 have been displaced in the aftermath. Relief efforts are underway, and aid has started to reach victims in the worst hit parts of the islands.

The tsunami was triggered by the Anak Krakatau volcano slipping into the ocean and causing an underwater landslide. The volcano has been very active since June. The fact that this tsunami was not caused by an earthquake meant no tsunami alert was issued. Coastal residents reported not seeing or feeling any warning signs before huge waves of up to ten feet pummeled the shore. Indonesian officials say they will build a new warning system that will be capable of detecting tsunamis that are caused by underwater disturbances like the one that created this tragedy.

Indonesia has already been struck by multiple major earthquakes in 2018. A series of quakes hit northern Lombok in July and August, killing at least 400 people, and the Sulawesi earthquake and subsequent tsunami in late September left more than 2,100 dead and many more injured.

The charities listed below perform favorably in relation to CharityWatch benchmarks:
1) A charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program services.
2) A charity should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

Contact your favorite charities to find out if they provide the specific types of aid that you would like to fund, e.g., emergency shelters, food and water, health care, psychological trauma counseling, rebuilding efforts, etc.


As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

  • Be on guard for a surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.
  • Do not respond to, or click on any attachments, links or pictures included in, emails or text messages received from unknown senders.
  • Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals purporting to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.
  • Scammers may try to use copy-cat names similar to those of well-known charities. Avoid name confusion by independently verifying that the charity is legitimate before you donate. Reputable charities will not pressure you to give immediately.
  • Beware of individuals or others claiming to be third party intermediaries for charities or those in need. It is best to give directly only to the charities that you are confident are legitimate and recognized for providing disaster or humanitarian relief.


The best way to help is by sending a check or donating securely by credit card. Such cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent.

CharityWatch identifies the following Top-Rated charities, which are providing relief to Indonesian tsunami victims and receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Top-Rated charities also must meet CharityWatch's Governance and Transparency benchmarks. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.

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