Around 300 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in a series of bombings that ripped through Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on Sunday.
The bombings were carried out by an obscure radical Islamic group and targeted churches, hotels, and other sites in an apparent attack on Christians celebrating the religious holiday Easter.
Authorities have apprehended 24 people in connection with the bombings and the government has shut down various social media sites to stem the flow of misinformation and reduce the risk of additional violence.
The tragedy is a frightening example of how religious intolerance often takes the form of murderous violence around the world.
In the aftermath of the brutal terror attack, here are three things you can do to help the victims. Since the situation is still unfolding, we’ll update this list as more information arrives.
1. Donate to relief organizations
Thousands of people were affected by the violence on Sunday and it will likely take communities months and years to recover from the loss of life, injuries, and trauma sustained.
International relief organizations such as the Red Cross are working to provide material assistance and stage blood drives. Various crowdsourcing efforts are underway to help people pay for health care and damaged infrastructure. Local nonprofits, meanwhile, will be crucial in helping the broader Colombo community recover from this tragedy.
If you’re near Colombo, Sri Lanka, and you have the means, nonprofits such as Volunteer Sri Lanka are looking for volunteers to help out in affected areas. This could mean carrying and delivering supplies, helping at hospitals, teaching children, or caring for the elderly.
In the aftermath of any tragedy, it’s always helpful to research volunteering opportunities because aid organizations are often strapped for resources.
3. Promote tolerance
The Colombo massacre is a devastating reminder of the prevalence of religious intolerance, prejudice, and social division around the world.
Across Asia, religious minorities have often been subjected to horrifying campaigns of violence and oppression in recent years. Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state were forced to flee the country when a genocidal campaign was waged against them. In China, the Uighur Muslim minority has been rounded up and put into concentration camps by the government. And in India, the Hindu majority has regularly stoked violence against the country’s Muslim population.
It’s not just Asia, either. Violence against people of color and ethnic minorities is rampant in all countries from Brazil to the United States to Italy to Iraq, and it’s often fueled by online hate speech.
You can help to counter this hatred by promoting tolerance and acceptance online, rebutting people who spread misinformation and prejudiced views, and joining interfaith groups that focus on building bridges between communities.