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After Florida Condo Disaster, State Lists Ways To Help Victims

The catastrophe that leveled part of a large condominium building in Surfside, Fla., has killed at least four people, with 159 more peopleunaccounted for. The massive response to the tragedy includes a push to help victims who've been displaced from their homes — and a Florida aid organization and state officials listed ways the public can help.

"Two main funds have been launched by trustworthy, local organizations to receive monetary donations: Support Surfside and the Surfside Building Collapse Victim Fund," the Florida Division of Emergency Management said Friday, citing guidance from Volunteer Florida.

In addition to those resources, member station WLRN in Miami has compiled a list of ways to help, including local charities and blood drives.

Some of the building's residents need specific items — state and local officials are working to provide displaced families with bassinets, pack n' plays, strollers and gift cards, for instance. But the state emergency agency says cash is the best option for people who want to help, as it's both flexible and effective.

Other efforts are focusing on housing. Florida's emergency agency said the Expedia travel company has launched a special page to help victims of the collapse find emergency housing, working with Visit Florida, the state's tourism promoter., a non-profit offshoot of Airbnb, is "coordinating directly with the American Red Cross and local mass care coordinators to assess the housing needs of the victims," the agency said.

Along with the Red Cross, other organizations working with Volunteer Florida include: United Way of Miami, Hope Animal Crisis Response, Neighbors to Neighbors, Jewish Community Services, Catholic Charities, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Florida Regional Interfaith/Inter-Agency Emergency Network for Disaster.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.