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Internet Help For Tsunami-Stricken

In a disaster on a scale rarely experienced on planet Earth, it is perhaps appropriate that there are so many ways to use the most global of media - the Internet - to help the hundreds of thousands injured in the south Asian tsunamis and the millions suddenly plunged into homelessness, scrounging for food.

If you're short on cash, you could still help tidal wave survivors - by donating new or used computers, digital cameras or other consumer electronics.

AuctionDrop.com, in cooperation with UPS, is allowing people to drop off items with a resale value of $75 or more to be auctioned on eBay with all proceeds donated to CARE's South Asian Disaster Relief fund.

Items may be taken to any of UPS's 3,700 stores around the country. You don't have to pay for packing or shipping. AuctionDrop will take care of all packaging and shipping costs from the funds they receive from the sale of the item. The company says that it is not taking any profit from the project.

Of course, there are also charity web sites ready to accept online donations, typically via credit card. CBSNews.com has compiled a list of agencies accepting donations for the disaster.

The American Red Cross is seeking funds to help in its efforts as is the Red Cross of Thailand.

The web can also be used to check out charities. A number of web sites, including give.org, guidestar.org and charitynavigator.org rate charities and provide information about the percentage of funds that go to programs versus those used to raise more funds. If you're not familiar with a charity, it's a good idea to check it out before you donate.

The web is also playing a major role in spreading the news and helping people look for lost friends and family members. There are a number of web logs reporting on the tragedy, in some cases in the words and pictures of individuals who were personally affected. Sites like thiswayplease.com and Sumankumar's yak pad provide stories, photos and video direct from the scene.

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog has more information plus links to a variety of disaster related resources including Tsunamiforum.org where survivors and those looking for loved ones can come together.

ChiensSansFrontiers has news from Sri Lanka.

Travel book publisher Lonely Planet has also set up a missing person's blog as well as other information on how to help survivors.

You'll find links to more Tsunami-related blogs at BoingBoing.net.



A syndicated technology columnist for nearly two decades, Larry Magid serves as on air Technology Analyst for CBS Radio News. His technology reports can be heard several times a week on the CBS Radio Network. Magid is the author of several books including "The Little PC Book."
By Larry Magid