For now, Valley relief agencies are sending cash donations — and prayers — to the tsunami victims in southeast Asia.
Communication manager for the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross, Jake Saylor, said his organization is relying on the Indian Red Cross to carry out the majority of relief efforts.
"They are already there," he said. "We are poised to help, but as of now we haven’t been asked."
Saylor said there are Red Cross societies all over the world trained to respond to international disasters.
"It takes years of training," he said, "so you don’t see people just hopping on a plane to help."
Phoenix-based Food for the Hungry also plans to use its international office in Thailand to carry out the majority of its relief efforts.
"Our Thailand office is already working with churches in the region to administer aid," said Tamara Dutch, spokeswoman for Food for the Hungry.
Tempe-based MedAire deployed a physician and two nurses from its Bangkok, Thailand, clinic to Phuket, Thailand, one of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami, said Brant Galloway, spokesman for the company.
Although local agencies said they do not have immediate plans to send aid workers, they are collecting cash donations to assist survivors.
They urge Valley residents who want to help to donate cash, not items.
"Cash is best because it ensures the items that are most needed get there," Saylor said. "It also puts money back into the local economies." "Shipping items isn’t too efficient," Dutch said. "We try to purchase items in the surrounding regions so we can get relief to victims faster."
How to help
United States relief agencies are collecting cash donations to benefit the victims of Sunday’s tsunami:
AMERICAN RED CROSS:
www.redcross.org or call (800) 435-7669
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS:
www.doctorswithoutborders-usa.org/donate or (888) 392-0392
MERCY CORPS: www.mercycorps.org or (800) 292-3355 Ext. 250
CARE USA: www.careusa.org or (800)
AMERICACARES: www.americares.org or (800) 486-4357