By Cady Drell
On Sunday, a series of bombs shook Colombo, the capital of the Southeast Asian island nation of Sri Lanka, targeting popular hotels and churches in the midst of Easter services. By Tuesday, the death toll rose to 310 people, with reports of more than 500 injuries (both figures may continue to climb). Of those dead, nearly 40 were foreigners from Australia, China, the U.S., Britain, and beyond.
On Tuesday, the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks. A government official said the bombs were retaliation for the attacks at New Zealand mosques in March—comments that come after those the government made Monday, in which it admitted that it had received notice of a potential terror threat from another intelligence service on which it failed to act. Though the highest ranking officials in the Sri Lankan government said that they were not informed about any warnings, there's been widespread condemnation for the government's lack of response and seeming breakdown of communication within its ranks.
Right now, Colombo and the rest of the world is reeling from one of the deadliest terror attacks since September 11, 2001. Sri Lankans affected by these attacks need the help of their neighbors in the international community to help rebuild their lives.
Fortunately, there has been a significant outpouring of support for victims and those injured, with lines at blood banks from people in Sri Lanka looking to help:
It appears that the National Blood Bank is unable to handle the massive turn out of people who are risking their own lives to donate blood to those who have been effected by the attacks today. This is my Sri Lanka. This is what it means to be Sri Lankan. #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/WzJtwccJEWApril 21, 2019
Though there’s currently no word on how to donate blood from countries outside of Sri Lanka (if you’re based in the country, you can head over to the site for the National Blood Bank to find a location near you), as is almost always the case after a major disaster with many victims, monetary donations are crucial.
Here are some things you can do to help those suffering in Sri Lanka right now:
Donate to the Sri Lankan Red Cross
Money is the most mobile resource in the early stages of any disaster or attack, which means donations are necessary right now. The Sri Lankan Red Cross has been working on helping victims contact their loved ones, coordinating blood donations, and providing “psychosocial support,” per a message from Red Cross Sri Lanka’s president:
My message in view of yesterday’s horrific attacks on innocent civilians in Sri Lanka. #SriLankaAttacks pic.twitter.com/zEpr2q4AIjApril 22, 2019
Even more will be needed over the coming days, as Red Cross employees work to determine where their resources would be most effective in the aftermath of this horrific attack.
Info just in: Trained Sri Lanka Red Cross staff and volunteers are helping relay information about people injured in today's explosions to their families. This eases the anguish of relatives and relieves pressure on medical staff dealing with mass casualty incidents #CommsIsAidApril 21, 2019
To donate to Red Cross Sri Lanka, click here.
Support a GoFundMe
GoFundMe is a good way for specific causes to get funded before international organizations can get to them. Though none of the ones popping up for Sri Lanka are yet verified by the site (avoid any fundraising efforts if you can’t tell who’s in charge or specifically where the money is going), some of them are gaining considerable momentum.
One, which you can find here, has already collected nearly $35,000 and says funds will go directly to victims. Again, take caution in donating to anything that doesn’t have verification.
This post has been updated to reflect news developments. We’ll continue to update as more information becomes available.
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