Devastating natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes require an immediate on-the-ground response to save the lives of those who have survived, but disaster relief is not always straightforward in countries that may be affected by:
- remote or mountainous locations
- ocean-bound countries where ports have been destroyed
- sites that are difficult to reach due to cut-off roads
- lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity, water, and phones
- issues with corrupt local officials who prevent aid from arriving or being distributed
In the aftermath of any type of disaster, day-to-day activities such as keeping clean to avoid the spread of disease, finding water that is safe to drink, having adequate and nutritional food, and being provided with temporary housing and the follow-on materials to reconstruct homes and businesses need to be in place almost immediately. Medical personnel will be required on the ground and, depending on the severity of the disaster, there may also be a need for counselling staff. Creating as much normality as possible by restoring schools, businesses, and government offices will require both restoration of essential infrastructure and continuous access to a means of obtaining money in the local currency for the necessary goods and services.
International dismay followed the discovery that many so-called ‘top tier’ charities actually handed over a very tiny percentage of the funds that were donated for the Haiti disaster in 2010. As a result, new ways of giving emerged. Blockchain technology is partially responsible for the rise in charitable donations since there is now a way to track donations from the outset, just like charities such as Direct Relief, Humanity Road, and Save The Children, who all made a significant difference by streamlining their processes.
Non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-government charity Direct Relief is cited quite often in articles about charities that accept cryptocurrency for donations. They are active in over 80 countries and ensure that there is no duplication of existing aid efforts being done by local agencies and staff. Forbes has rated the effectiveness of their fundraising at 100%.
The organisation has a proud history, originating in the late 1940s after World War II ended in Europe. Founded by William Zimdin, a refugee himself who re-established his life in California, Direct Relief continues the humanitarian work of its founder – most recently with assistance relating to hurricanes, mudslides, and wildfires.
Direct Relief absorbs the total cost of fundraising, unlike many charities, and allows you to specify the country or cause or emergency situation that you would like to contribute. They also have one specific page on their site – https://www.directrelief.org/bitcoin/ — that allows immediate donations of Bitcoin. (Direct Relief, n.d.)
Humanity Road is another charity that is happy to accept cryptocurrency for international relief efforts. Covering 65 events that were spread out over 19 countries in 2017 alone, this organisation has received honours from both the United Nations and FEMA for their ongoing standards of excellence. They have received glowing commentary in the media at sites such as Forbes, NBC, and CNN and won awards for their outstanding work from the review site – Great Nonprofits.org.
One of the differences between Direct Relief and Humanity Road is that this is the first organisation that incorporates year-round humanitarian aide work – but the focus for Humanity Road is disaster relief. Their dedicated Bitcoin donation page is https://www.humanityroad.org/bitcoin (Humanity Road, n.d.)
Working in 120 countries around the world, Save The Children, a long-established charity, has also begun accepting Bitcoin donations at this dedicated page. The work of this organisation includes poverty relief and disaster relief and is aimed specifically at an improvement of the lives of children. (Live Bitcoin News, Dec. 2017)
- Direct Relief: Emergency Preparedness and Response (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.directrelief.org/emergency/
- Humanity Road: Our Impact (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.humanityroad.org/our-impact
- 8 Major Establishments Accepting Payments in Bitcoin (2017, Dec. 1). Retrieved from http://www.livebitcoinnews.com/8-major-establishments-accepting-payments-bitcoin/