Tragedy struck in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, when a car drove through a busy pedestrian area in an apparent terrorist attack on one of Europe's biggest cities and most popular tourist destinations. Although the forces behind the attack are still not entirely confirmed, there are still ways you can help the victims in Spain immediately. Whether you're close by or separated by an ocean, there's definitely some way that you can contribute to the healing that must come in the wake of this terrible day.
Barcelona is much-loved, both by locals and by those who have only spent a few days walking its gorgeous streets, and so far, the city has received an outpouring of support online. While that may not seem like a big thing, some people may feel like that's all they can do stand up and support the victims of what authorities are calling a probable terrorist attack. And that's OK, if it's all that you have the resources to do. A show of support online isn't nothing. However, there's more you can do to help the victims of the Barcelona attack, whether it's by making a meaningful donation or simply by going about your business, unafraid in the face of the terror that the attackers were trying to create.
1Donate To Someone Who Can Help On The Ground
If you're not a medical professional in the Barcelona area, you can donate to someone who is — the Cruz Roja Española, for example, was on the scene attending to victims immediately. You can also donate to another big, international organization like the U.N. Foundation, which also assists in disaster relief and crisis situations. If you want to get more specific in your donations, mental health organizations in Barcelona would be a good place to turn, as they'll definitely be slammed in the aftermath of the attack with people who, understandably, need help processing the events.
2Don't Share Graphic Pictures Or Unconfirmed Reports
It doesn't help anyone to watch or share graphic videos, and starting a conversation using unconfirmed reports could potentially confuse people or lead the discourse in the wrong direction. Don't disrespect the victims by sharing videos of the most painful moments of their and their loved ones' lives. Wait to share a post with new information until you've found it confirmed on multiple trustworthy news organizations.
3Support Barcelona's Three Days Of Mourning
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has declared a three-day mourning period to mark the attack, and much of the world is already planning on recognizing it. For example, the Eiffel Tower went dark last night to mourn the victims, and One World Trade displayed the colors of the Spanish flag. You may not control the lighting on your local famous landmark, but you can still show your support in another way.
4Donate Blood, Locally Or Otherwise
Local Barcelona hospitals have apparently been flooded with people volunteering to donate blood, which is definitely a good problem to have. You can still try to donate if you're in the area, but even if you're not, there's definitely a blood bank nearby that would appreciate your help. Donate blood in solidarity, even if you're on a different continent.
5Don't Let The Terrorists Force You To Change
The aim of a terrorist attack is in the name: to terrorize people. To get them to change their way of life because they're afraid to go on living the way they usually do. They attack people at places where they should be joyful — concerts, gorgeous landmarks, and the like — to try to change that joy into fear. If you change your travel plans or live in fear because of attacks like this, you're giving the terrorists exactly the reaction they want. In honor of the victims, don't let the perpetrators justify all of this senseless death and pain.
This is a sad day, and if you're feeling mentally or emotionally affected by the attack for whatever reason, take a moment (or several moments) to give yourself some TLC. And in many cases, the best TLC for yourself just might be finding a way to help the victims of the Barcelona attack.