Officials Remind Americans That Cash Donations Are Best to Help Victims of Floods, Mudslides in El Salvador

Nov 11, 2009, 15:38 ET from Center for International Disaster Information

Embassy of El Salvador and CIDI Urge Americans to Send Cash Instead of In-Kind Donations

to Provide Effective and Immediate Assistance

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) and the Embassy of El Salvador are encouraging Americans who wish to help the victims of this week's devastating floods and mudslides in El Salvador to donate cash as an alternative to in-kind donations such as clothing and canned goods. It is widely recognized that cash donations are the most efficient and effective means of relief, a policy supported by CIDI's funding partner, the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and those in the established international disaster response community.

Heavy rains caused extensive flooding and triggered more than 100 mudslides in El Salvador on Sunday, burying communities in mud and leaving many under water. On Tuesday afternoon, at least 157 people were believed to be dead and dozens are still missing, according to preliminary estimates by officials on the ground. More than 14,000 people remain in emergency shelters.

As a cold front moves into the region this week, the need for cash donations is increasingly urgent. Cash donations can be used to buy the supplies, clothing and emergency items needed on the ground, without the delay of collecting, packing, shipping and distributing in-kind items.

"The best way for Americans to help is to donate cash to an established relief agency so that they can provide the quickest onsite assistance," says Suzanne Brooks, Director of CIDI. "We've all seen the heartbreaking images of past international disasters, such as the tsunami, where massive amounts of clothing and canned goods were collected in piles, left virtually untouched. CIDI's mission is to reduce the amount of inappropriate material donations sent to victims and to facilitate efforts by professional humanitarian relief agencies."

Individuals and organizations interested in making contributions to help the victims in El Salvador can get more information by visiting CIDI's website at Additionally, interested donors can visit to obtain a list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies and to get valuable information on making informed decisions when supporting charities. In addition, donors can visit GlobalGiving allows donors to fund specific programs that address a range of immediate to long-term needs.

"The government of El Salvador deeply appreciates all the effort and support received from friends all over the world, and wishes to reassure its commitment to act with efficiency, transparency and accountability in these difficult moments," says Minister Francisco Altschul, Chief of Mission of the Embassy of El Salvador and Charge d'affaires. "President Mauricio Funes has clearly stated his special concern to guarantee that all the aid our country receives from abroad, is managed effectively and reaches the people who need it the most."

About CIDI

CIDI is based in Washington, DC and was created in 1988. The Center is funded by the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. CIDI provides individuals, groups, embassies and corporations with information and guidance in support of appropriate international disaster relief efforts. The organization works with a variety of partners to channel the public's energy and desire to help to achieve maximum impact. By reaching out to the American public and the private sector, CIDI helps to promote activities and donations that will do the most good for disaster victims around the world. For more information about CIDI and helping international victims, please visit

SOURCE Center for International Disaster Information