Fifty-three people were wounded and 50 were killed during a shooting early Sunday morning in Orlando, Fla. The incident began at about 2 a.m. at Pulse, a gay nightclub, and law enforcement officials are now saying it was an act of terrorism. It is being classified as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, with more casualties than either the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 or the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
Those who have friends or loved ones in the area can use the Facebook Safety Check to check in with them. The city of Orlando is also setting up a website with the names of all deceased parties, though it will not be updated until all families have been notified.
We are setting up a website. https://t.co/ITWG4Mihvq will be updated with the names of the deceased after the next of kin is notified. 7/11— Mayor Buddy Dyer (@orlandomayor) June 12, 2016
No matter where you're located, there are ways you can help the victims of this tragedy. Here are five ways you can immediately offer support:
1. Donate Blood
The wounded victims are desperately in need of blood.
The Guardian has offered a number of locations in and around the area where you can donate.
Though many have responded, there is still heavy demand. O-, O+, and AB in particular remain badly needed.
2. Donate to the Victims
Equality Florida, a legal organization dedicated to advocating for the LGBT community, has set up a GoFundMe page to support the victims. As of shortly after 1 p.m. EST, it had raised $83,000 of its $500,000 goal.
3. Donate to the LGBT Center of Central Florida
4. Donate to Orlando Hospitals
The wounded victims were rushed to local hospitals, primarily the Orlando Regional Medical Center, which is three blocks from Pulse. In an interview with the Associated Press, a doctor from the ORMC said it has been "very hectic."
5. Write to Your Congressperson
You can also write to your congressional representative to express your opinion and call for any changes to your state's legislation you feel necessary to prevent tragedies like this from occurring again in the future. Find who that person is and how to contact him/her here.