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Author Topic: Tsunami Relief: What we can do  (Read 2675 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: December 29, 2004, 01:03:20 AM »

Personal Journal
How to Help Tsunami Recovery
By JANE J. KIM
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


Following the deadly tsunami in southern Asia, a number of aid organizations are taking individual donations to assist recovery efforts in the hardest-hit countries.

The best way for individuals to help is to make cash contributions rather than donating food, supplies or clothing, experts say. "Cash is best because it allows us to purchase goods or move goods into the affected regions," said Jacki Flowers, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross.

But it is important to be careful about where to give, as charity scams are likely to spring up in the wake of the disaster. One place to vet charities is InterAction.org, which requires that relief organizations meet certain criteria in order to be a member.

Others such as GuideStar.org let individuals download copies of Internal Revenue Service filings for nonprofit groups in its database. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs maintains www.ReliefWeb.int, a Web site that lists information by disaster.

Here are some of the organizations:

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in southern Asia. Donations are being accepted at 800-HELP-NOW and www.redcross.org.

AmeriCares. Call 800-486-4357 or visit www.americares.org to donate.

Doctors Without Borders is preparing relief supplies for the area of Indonesia closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, among other projects. Contact 888-392-0392 or visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

Mercy Corps, an international coalition of humanitarian agencies , is accepting donations at 888-256-1900 and www.mercycorps.org.

Save the Children Federation is seeking $5 million in private and public support for its emergency response through its Asia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund. Contact 800-728-3843 or visit www.savethechildren.org.

Care is mounting an emergency response in areas hardest hit such as Sri Lanka and India. Contact 800-521-2273 or visit www.careusa.org.

-------------

Personal note from Crafty Dog:

As a Jew I confess to being irked upon hearing reports that Sri Lanka rejected offers of help from Israel.  

Our family will be making its donations to

http://www.jdc.org/

http://www.ajws.org/

Grrr,
Crafty Dog
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2004, 05:07:09 PM »

You could aslo send aid and releif through world vision. www.worldvision.ca they have been helping out in sri lanka, thailand india and indonesia for quite some time. they also offer child sponsership.
if you do help or sponsor type inn 10735 in the agent id box... it would be much appreciated
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2004, 08:26:46 PM »

I'm guessing from the architecture that these are from Thailand

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2004, 12:43:37 PM »

Far From Stingy
December 31, 2004; Page A10

Across the world, the reaction to Asia's tsunami is bringing out the best in human nature. Fund-raising appeals, disaster-relief teams, military assets -- all are being marshaled for the victims of this tragedy.

Which makes it all the more outrageous that a top United Nations official chose this week to accuse the U.S. and other Western nations of being stingy with assistance to poorer nations. "We were more generous when we were less rich," Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland lectured on Monday. "And it is beyond me why we are so stingy, really."

Now, complaints about U.S. miserliness are more routine than the earthquakes and floods that strike the globe. A favorite "fact" of international critics is that while the U.S. government nearly always ranks first in absolute amounts of foreign aid, it tends to fall last among industrial countries in aid as a percentage of gross national product. The one-tenth of one percent that Washington devotes to foreign assistance, they say, is nothing compared with what the U.S. could afford.

The problem is that, as with so many questions of accounting (say, Oil for Food), the U.N. and other international bodies rely on unreliable ledgers. Groups like the Development Assistance Committee (part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) tend to look only at "official" government aid. What this misses is that Americans have never trusted government institutions to dole out assistance. Instead, we open our wallets for private groups that are better at targeting money where it's needed, tracking projects, cutting waste -- and getting results.

When it comes to this sort of giving, nobody beats Americans. According to a 2003 report from the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. international assistance to developing countries in 2000 was $56 billion. Yet just 18% of that was "official" government assistance. Some $33.6 billion -- or 60% -- came from the private sector. Corporations shelled out nearly $3 billion. Religious groups weighed in with $3.4 billion. Individuals provided $18 billion. To say nothing of funds from foundations, private and voluntary organizations, or universities.

Cynics mark this generosity down to a U.S. tax code that encourages giving. Yet most research shows that Americans view donations as a duty. Philanthropy magazine reports a study showing the average U.S. contribution outweighs the average German or French one seven- or eight-fold. This sense of responsibility is often motivated by faith; some 60% of American donations go to religious groups or causes.

None of this sits well with the U.N., whose own budget relies on state dollars. A chastened Mr. Egeland was forced later this week to claim he'd been misinterpreted and to acknowledge U.S. generosity. But behind this apology is the U.N.'s longstanding belief that what's really needed is for the U.S. and others to raise taxes to pay for more public foreign aid.

That approach reigns in Western Europe and explains what's wrong with so much of current foreign aid. Europeans have come to view private donations as a failure of the state and expect their governments to collect billions in taxes to shuffle along to slow-moving and unaccountable international bureaucracies. The result is a lose-lose situation. Giving countries see their own economies depressed by higher taxes and receiving countries find the aid too often enabling strongmen or perpetuating poor policies.

A far better approach, at least in the public sphere, are initiatives such as President Bush's Millennium Challenge Account. By tying long-term assistance to improvements in specific economic and political goals -- such as cracking down on corruption or establishing rules of law -- foreign aid brings about real reform. This approach drives U.N. bureaucrats nuts, a sure sign it's on the right track.

Today's priority in Asia is immediate humanitarian relief. The list of U.S.-based private and religious organizations already working in the area is stunning. And it's good to see the U.S. decision effectively to go around U.N. bureaucracy by working directly with a coalition of Japan, Australia and India to coordinate relief. Meanwhile, we can expect the federal government to continue its tradition of generosity in the upcoming weeks -- a tradition that resulted in $2.4 billion in humanitarian relief last year alone, or 40% of the world total.

But future money, both public and private, should be aimed at developing the sort of governments and economies that will be equipped to deal with disasters on their own.
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Russ
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2005, 11:15:31 AM »

I just made a small donation to Save the Children.  I have worked with them before in SE Asia and they are excellent at getting aid out to those in need.  Anything you can afford to give will help.  It doesn't have to be a lot.

http://www.savethechildren.org/radio_asia_earthquake.asp?stationpub=hp_asia_overview
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buzwardo
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2005, 12:09:14 PM »

I was working at the University of Illinois when this author was in school; he wrote a lot of congent contrarian columns for a student publication back then. In this piece he takes a contrarian view of what needs to be done to best battle the epidemics predicted in the wake of the tsunami.


January 03, 2005, 7:30 a.m.
Lives Left to Save
The prevention work yet to do in South Asia.

By Michael Fumento

You've seen the horrific images of walls of water rushing up beaches, sweeping away everything ? and everyone ? in its path. You've seen the dead piled up like cordwood, wounded survivors, and people collapsing upon hearing their entire family has vanished. Alas, you may not have seen the worst.

Dr. David Nabarro, head of crisis operations for the U.N. World Health Organization, has warned that disease could take more lives than the waves. "The initial terror associated with the tsunamis and the earthquake itself may be dwarfed by the longer term suffering of the affected communities,'' he said.

The main enemy is pestilence that can come from many different sources and cause a bewildering number of deadly diseases. Many are contracted from contaminated water that, according to Gerald Martone of the International Rescue Committee, can carry more than 50 diseases.

These include typhoid fever, dysentery, and one of history's greatest killers, cholera. Cholera causes a combination of diarrhea and vomiting, and death can come within hours. Typhoid fever and dysentery can be treated with antibiotics, though such drugs have limited use with cholera. With both dysentery and cholera, the primary treatment is oral rehydration with a mixture of water, salts, and sugar.

Once any of these take hold, there can be hell to pay for years to come. The key to prevention is killing the disease-causing organisms in water, preferably with chlorine. Boiling works temporarily, but any untreated water can become quickly contaminated.

Malaria and dengue fever, both carried by mosquitoes, are already endemic in many of the affected areas and disease levels could dramatically increase as they breed in the countless pools of stagnant water left behind by the waves. Mosquitoes that carry malaria come out at night, those that carry dengue by day. They thus kill around the clock.

Draining the pools would be terribly laborious, especially since mosquitoes can breed in nothing more than a footprint. The best answer would be spraying with DDT. Unfortunately, environmentalists have demonized DDT based essentially on unfounded accusations in a 1962 book, Silent Spring.

Yet notes Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism and senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality, "DDT is not only probably the most effective mosquito killer on earth, it's also been tested for literally decades and has never been shown to harm people." It's questionable whether it even has any impact on the environment. There are other insecticides available, Driessen observes, but "they don't have the repellency of DDT and a single DDT spraying lasts six months."

He says DDT should be sprayed on water pools, tents, and on people themselves ? as indeed was once common in Sri Lanka and throughout most of the world. "We need to ignore the environmentalists and concentrate on immediate health dangers," he says. Incidentally, by and large environmental groups also oppose water chlorination. Greenpeace specifically wants to eliminate all uses of chlorine, thereby setting the world clock back by over a century and ensuring that we in the West would be too busy fighting epidemics to help others with theirs.

Typhus, spread by fleas and lice, could also become epidemic, and DDT has an excellent track record in preventing it since it was first dusted on Italian war refugees in 1943.

One bright note is that "contrary to popular belief," according to WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), "there is no evidence that corpses pose a risk of disease 'epidemics.'" That means we can have priorities other than disposal of remains. However, adds PAHO, bodies can pose a threat if cholera was the cause of death. Rapid corpse disposal would then be imperative.

It sounds trite, but every day truly counts. There is a tipping point with pestilence. Once a critical mass of illness is reached, the numbers explode. Yet the organization jostling to take the lead in providing relief, the U.N., has in previous crises proved itself to be a snail with arthritic knees. Look at what it accomplished ? or more to the point failed to accomplish ? in Rwanda and Darfur. The more who die, the faster the U.N. twiddles its thumbs.

The U.S., other governments, and private relief organizations must be willing to push Kofi Annan aside and deal directly with governments in the disaster areas. We can play politics later; the time to save lives is now.

? Michael Fumento (U.S. Army Airborne 1978-82) is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. and a health/science columnist for Scripps Howard News Service.
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