As we go about our daily lives dealing with our everyday problems, a nightmare of biblical proportions is unfolding right before our eyes, brought to us in real time through the miracle of modern communication technology. The sights and sounds of a people broken and still clinging to life are nearly overwhelming to witness even from a distance; one cannot imagine what it must be like to be there.

Yet, amidst the destruction, an army of compassionate helpers has begun to flow into the wounded city – rescuing, feeding, healing and comforting those who have survived the initial blow. Doctors, soldiers, humanitarians, missionaries, engineers, have all mobilized for a single purpose: to save the survivors and begin to rebuild the pulverized infrastructure of Port-Au-Prince. The task is herculean, to say the least, and as I write this, the nightmare is not even one week old.

For those who want to help and yet be assured that their contribution actually reaches the victims, and not line the pockets of the corrupt bureaucracy that surrounds them, I’m republishing a list of the best, most trustworthy and effective charity organizations, with direct links to their websites, below.

Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres

Based in France, this charity sends out teams of doctors, nurses, and assistants to places that lack medical facilities. With hospitals collapses in Port-au-Prince and thousands of injured, the lack of medical aid is one of Haiti’s biggest problems right now. MSF has 800 medical staff already there who have set up field clinics.

Mercy Corps

One of the top charity organizations for making sure every penny of your dollar goes toward aid, Mercy Corps only sent paid disaster relief experts to Haiti and there, hired local workers as volunteers — paying them from your contributions. It helps the group both economize on travel costs and stimulate the local economy.

World Vision

Having worked in Haiti for 30 years and with a staff of 370 planted there already, this US-based charity isn’t asking for extra money for volunteers. Your dollars go directly toward the purchase of life-saving supplies, including tents, clean water and blankets.

Hope for Haiti’s Children

This Haiti-based charity is a Christian enterprise where volunteers donate their lives toward improving the health and education of Haitian children. Given the magnitude of this disaster they have shifted their mission toward providing basic aid for the children of their orphanage, which grows in number every day.

American Red Cross

This US-based charity has pledged one million of its own funds and in addition to their staff already in Haiti, sent six rigorously-trained teams of disaster volunteers to Haiti, and opened its Panama warehouse of tarps, mosquito nets and cooking sets to 5,000 Haitian families.

Author’s Note: List of charities from MTV Iggy… if you want further confirmation, the Forbes Charity Guide is also worth studying before deciding where to send your contribution. Background photos from Getty Images; the full gallery can be seen at CNN online.