The Worst Natural Disasters of 2017 and What You Can Do to Help

Oct 19, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

2017 has been an unrelenting year for natural disasters. From wildfires to earthquakes to hurricanes, there has been no rest for the weary. Some of our favorite travel destinations worldwide have seen complete devastation — wildfires have ravaged Northern California, hurricanes have completely destroyed parts of Texas and earthquakes proved deadly in Mexico. But in the face of disaster, we’ve seen how people can come together to help those in times of need. Here’s how you can help out those affected by 2017’s most catastrophic natural disasters.



Wildfires broke out in Northern California on Sunday, October 8, and have killed more than 40 people as firefighters continue to work on extinguishing the quick-moving flames. The outbreak is now one of the deadliest in the state’s history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, affecting regions like Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Yuba County and Napa County. Below are ways you can help out victims and their families in the area.

A post shared by Daily Overview (@dailyoverview) on




Mexico was ravished by not one, not two, but three earthquakes within a 15 day period. The first and largest earthquake (and strongest to hit the country in a century) shook the southern tip of the country near the Guatemala border in early September with a magnitude of 8.1, killing dozens. Less than two weeks later, the country was rattled by a 7.1 magnitude quake killing more than 300 people. Four days after that, the country experienced a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. The country is in desperate need of help right now. Find ways to help below.

  • Donate to UNICEF’s earthquake relief efforts in Mexico. Money raised through UNICEF goes directly to help children affected by the destruction.
  • Project Paz is a non-profit in NYC that helps Latino children and has a fund set up for earthquake relief.
  • Global Giving takes donations and distributes the money to local recovery efforts. They have a goal of raising $2.5 million and are nearly halfway there.
Photo courtesy of Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images


Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria wrecked Puerto Rico with a direct hit as a Category 5 hurricane and winds measuring over 150mph. Now, the hurricane aftermath has turned into a humanitarian crisis. The island still has little power and water, fuel and food are still extremely scarce. Experts estimate it could be up to six months before power is restored to the island and that the death toll will reach into the hundreds. The island is in desperate need of aid, which you can send via the links below.

  • The First Lady of Puerto Rico has set up a fund, United for Puerto Rico, to help victims. 100% of the funds will go directly to families whose lives were devastated.
  • Former US Presidents have set up One America Appeal to help all families affected by hurricanes in 2017.
  • Additionally, you can help by simply spreading the word and sharing the above links. One of the biggest issues facing the island is the breakdown of communication due to the extreme loss of power and infrastructure.

A post shared by The New York Times (@nytimes) on

Florida & Northern Caribbean

Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Before the storm made landfall, the largest mass evacuation in the country’s history took place from southern Florida — six million people were advised to leave under the mandatory evacuation. Many homes and buildings were completely destroyed and many lives were lost. Barbuda, Antigua, the Florida Keys and Cuba were some of the places that saw extreme damage. Help the areas affected by Hurricane Irma by donating money or time to the places below.

  • Donate time and/or money to Volunteer Florida. This is the state’s official private fund that assists in recovery and disaster relief.
  • Donate to Save the Children‘s Hurricane Irma fund.
  • SPCA International provides support to shelters and rescue groups that were affected by the storm.


Hurricane Harvey was the first major storm to make landfall in the US in 2017. It caused catastrophic flooding in Houston as well as the surrounding areas. It also had powerful winds and a storm surge that wreaked havoc on the Texas coast. Harvey’s aftermath left floodwaters in parts of Texas for days; it is now known as the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the United States. Here’s how you can help Harvey victims.

  • Brother’s Brother Foundation is accepting donations in the form of supplies. Any monetary donations go towards shipping costs and delivering supplies to areas affected in Texas.
  • Sponsor a child in need through World Vision.
  • If you make a donation through Habitat for Humanity, your donation will be matched to make twice the impact for a family. You can also sign up to build houses through their website in affected areas.
Photo courtesy of Marcus Yam via Getty Images
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.