The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa (and the US) is the worst on record, infecting about 9,000 people and killing about 4,500 as of October 12. The situation still seems out of control. And the longer the outbreak goes on, the greater chance it has of spreading to new locations.
Some readers have been asking what they can do to help. For those interested, the US Agency for International Development has put together a list of 58 non-governmental organizations that are working on the Ebola crisis, with direct links for how to donate to them online (or via snail mail).
The agency is encouraging Americans to donate, according to a recently released statement:
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Center for International Disaster Information (USAID CIDI) encourages Americans to support relief efforts appropriately and responsibly. Those who wish to help are encouraged to do so by giving monetary donations to trusted and experienced relief organizations, and to refrain from sending material donations such as bottled water, clothing and canned goods, unless they are specifically requested by a responding organization. Monetary donations to relief organizations working directly with disaster-affected people are the most effective way to help.
What's more, because this crisis is affecting some of the poorest countries on Earth (which have also been recently affected by Ebola-related quarantines and air-flight cancelations), food access is also expected to play a major role. That's why organizations like the World Food Program are on the list, too.
Further reading: This piece by Julia Belluz offers some tips on the best ways to donate money — resources like Charity Watch, GiveWell, and Charity Navigator can help assess effectiveness of different non-profits.