The Category 5 hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday, hours after hitting Mexico’s coast with winds around 165 mph.
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Hurricane Patricia — one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall — slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast Friday evening and led to flash flooding Saturday in Texas, where surging water apparently derailed a freight train.

Relief efforts are already underway in Mexico, and the American Red Cross cautions against gifts of food, clothing or medicine on its website.

“A financial donation is the most effective way you can support our international responses,” the agency says on its website. “Cash enables the local Red Cross organization in the affected country to identify and address the most immediate needs — such as providing food and water or repairing damaged homes.”

Making a donation online is the fastest and most efficient way to help those in need. Right now, the aid organizations are focusing their efforts on hard-hit Mexico. Consider these reputable non-profits with easy-to-use online donation forms as well as information about how to give via text.

• Americares is working with a local Mexican organization to “distribute pre-positioned relief supplies … to displaced families.” (Charity Navigator Ranking)

• Catholic Relief Services is planning a coordinated response with its partners. (Charity Navigator Ranking)

• Direct Relief says it “operates the world’s largest charitable hurricane preparedness program and keeps emergency modules preassembled and ready to send should a disaster strike.” (Charity Navigator Rating)

• Operation USA says it will deliver recovery aid to affected communities, and will call on long-standing partnerships in the country to facilitate its distribution. Text AID to 50555 to donate $10. (Charity Navigator Rating)

• Save the Children says it already has teams in the area ready to help children and families with emergency assistance. Text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $25. (Charity Navigator Ranking)

• World Vision is on the scene with emergency supplies including blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen kits and bottled water. (Charity Navigator Ranking)

• Samaritan’s Purse is ready to deploy a team and supplies to affected areas. (Charity Navigator Ranking)

• The Salvation Army is collecting donations to help victims.

• UNICEF says it is ready “to support children in danger with emergency assistance.”

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