Faced with heartbreaking images of the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, the world is watching an epic tragedy unfold and looking for ways to help.

Experts say in the aftermath of massive disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, it's best not to send rummage sale clothes, old toys and supplies that will only pile up undistributed or undermine an already weakened economy. They urge those who want to do good to send a cash donation to a charity with a proven track record.

A Red Cross official says the agency buys goods locally or domestically after disasters to help revive the economy, curb transportation costs and guarantee culturally appropriate items are being used.

Several relief groups have made online appeals for financial help and contributions often can be designated for this particular disaster.