UPDATE Aug. 24 10:29 a.m. PT: Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has said the death toll has risen to 120.
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday morning, causing mass casualties, injuries and destruction. Several aftershocks also hit the region, making the region’s residents even more vulnerable.
According to Italian officials, at least 120 people are reported dead, with mass injuries expected. Dozens are thought to still be trapped under rubble.
Even if you are geographically removed from the area, there are ways you can make a difference for those directly impacted by the natural disaster.
Below, we’ve listed how you can provide support and resources. We’ll update this post as more options become available.
1. Donate to organizations working on the ground.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, relief organizations are focused on pulling survivors from rubble and providing other life-saving assistance.
In the days and weeks following the natural disaster, relief work will likely shift to support those left without homes and those sustaining major injuries from the devastation.
Here are a few organizations that have publicly announced essential work on the ground.
The Italian Red Cross
The Italian Red Cross was one of the first relief organizations to respond to impacted areas, sifting through rubble to find those trapped and injured.
The organization dispatched 20 emergency vehicles to affected areas to provide on-the-ground emergency care. Volunteers are also aiding in search-and-rescue efforts with the help of detection dogs. The Italian Red Cross says it will continuously monitor the situation to provide the aid needed most.
Nonprofit organization Global Giving is collecting donations to help fund grassroots relief efforts in the region. Global Giving will distribute donations to local organizations working to provide survivors with essentials, such as food, water and medicine, in addition to long-term recovery needs.
The nonprofit believes that local relief groups are often in the best position to provide the most comprehensive support for victims’ families and survivors. To donate to the fund, visit here.
International animal rescue group OIPA International has dispatched volunteers to heavily impacted areas, performing rescue operations to save animals trapped in the ruins. The organization is also rounding up animals roaming the area, treating them for any injuries and providing temporary shelter.
To learn how to donate to the organization’s efforts, visit here.
2. Donate blood.
AVIS, the main blood donation organization in Italy, has issued an urgent appeal for blood donations especially for citizens in Rome, which wasn’t directly hit by the quake but is still close to the impacted area. Potential donors are asked to visit the nearest hospital or AVIS location to give, if their personal situation is stable.
3. Make sure your family and friends are safe.
As with many crisis situations around the world, Facebook activated its Safety Check feature for those in the impacted area. Facebook users affected by the earthquake can use the feature to confirm their safety, and alert friends of their status.
Facebooks Safety Check also allows users to monitor their own friends lists to ensure none of their loved ones are in the immediate area or to mark friends and loved ones as safe if they’ve been in touch. To use the feature, click here.
4. If you’re local, turn off your Wi-Fi password.
If you are local to central Italy, the Italian Red Cross, the Italian National Council of Geologists and the Lazio region are asking residents to disable their Wi-Fi passwords to give relief workers more reliable access to communication.
In emergency situations, connectivity is notoriously difficult for relief workers and those directly impacted by the disaster. Opening up your personal network is one way you can help increase the efficiency of aid efforts while also helping survivors contact their loved ones.