Here's good news for anyone looking to set up a new non-profit to help with disaster relief: (Subscription link)
he IRS announced that it will provide an expedited review and approval process for new organizations seeking tax-exempt status to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. IR-2005-93 (9/6/05)
The IRS announced that it will provide expedited review and approval for new organizations seeking tax-exempt status to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. A new organization should apply for tax-exempt status by filing IRS Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If the organization writes “Disaster Relief, Hurricane Katrina” on the top of the form, the IRS will give it expedited attention. Publication 3888, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations provides guidance on the application process.
I'd tend to agree that it's better to set up new programs in existing charities, but if you want to start a new one, more power to you.