How To Help: Disaster Relief & Recovery Needs in 2021

Photo: ‎Ismael Paramo

When disasters strike, whether they be humanitarian or caused by nature, we are drawn to help alleviate human suffering by helping those most in need. In 2021, these disasters ranged from the ongoing and devastating California wildfires, the Haiti earthquake and subsequent refugee crisis, Hurricane Ida in the Gulf Coast, the Orange County Coastline Oil Spill and the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis – all compounded by the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These tragedies also bring out the best of our human nature as demonstrated by our compassion, empathy and strong desire to give. The needs of refugees and asylum seekers have caused many of us to consider our own family’s history and immigration journeys. In response to inquiries by our generous donors, we have compiled this list of giving opportunities to support immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts for disasters in 2021:

Afghanistan Asylee & Refugee Crisis: The World Health Organization is reporting that 50 percent of the population in Afghanistan is in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 700 Afghan refugees are expected to resettle in Los Angeles County between now and March 2022. Local non-profit partners indicate that their needs will include legal and immigration support, housing and cash assistance, job training, language resources and training, mental health resources, and protection due to islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. Donors interested in supporting resettlement efforts can give to a network of Afghan-led community partners and community-based organizations. For a list of organizations providing ongoing support, please visit our Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis resource page.

Haiti Earthquake Relief & Recovery: Haiti, considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, suffered from a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake in August that injured and displaced thousands of people, and claimed the lives of over 2,200 residents. The long road to recovery is exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, economic underdevelopment and political instability. For a list of organizations providing ongoing support, please visit our Haiti Earthquake Relief resource page.

California Wildfires: Since 2003, CCF’s Wildfire Recovery Fund has granted more than $30 million to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of devastating California wildfires. We continue to monitor the multiple fires to respond with intermediate and long-term grants to help support those most impacted, which includes the Caldor Fire that caused the mass evacuation of South Lake Tahoe.

Hurricane Ida: Donors interested in supporting recovery efforts following the deadly and destructive hurricane are encouraged to consider a gift to the local area community foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Through the Hurricane Ida Response & Restoration Fund, the Foundation is providing ongoing grants to organizations providing emergency food and shelter, legal aid and technical assistance to help residents navigate applications for assistance, mucking and gutting operations, and diaper distribution.

Orange County Coastline Oil Spill: On October 2, an estimated 144,000 gallons of crude oil spilled in the Pacific Ocean when a pipeline broke near the Orange County coastline. The resulting impact to the habitat’s most vulnerable wildlife and wetlands will require a long-term, multi-agency response. For ways to help, please visit the resource guide from the local area Orange County Community Foundation.

For additional information on 2021 disaster responses, contact Tammy Johnson, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, at

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