Sunday, February 13, 2005

Aid for the tsunami and AID India

President Bush will ask Congress for 950 million in aid for the tsunami-stricken nations. The money will mostly go towards helping Indonesia and Sri Lanka, since India and Thailand have not sought foreign governmental aid. The bill, if approved, would be the single largest pledge made towards any single disaster in US history. This is the sort of the thing that puts compassion into conservativism, and I can only applaud Bush for this move.
President Bush on Wednesday increased the United States tsunami relief pledge to $950 million, nearly tripling America's contribution.
The additional $600 million would put the United States, which was criticized initially as reacting slowly to the disaster, ahead of Australia, which has pledged $750 million, and Germany, which has pledged $680 million, among the top donors.
The relief couldn't come at a better time. Disasters such as the tsunami have a tendency to be quicky forgotten. As a relief worker in one of the articles Amit Varma wrote on put it : 'This will also slip away from public memory'.
"I have been to Orissa (where there was a cyclone in 1999), I have been to Bhuj (earthquake in 2001), and from those experiences I can tell you, long-term rehabilitation is a problem. See, now the tsunami has just happened, the press is everywhere, the government everywhere, volunteers everywhere. But as time passes -- after the immediate emergency needs of the survivors are taken care of -- most of them will go away.
Amit Varma blogged on India Uncut about his first-hand experiences in Tamil Nadu in the days following the tsunami. (Check out his "India Uncut - The Tsunami Posts") In the article, Amit Varma also mentions AID India's efforts in the tsunami. He refers to AID as 'an organisation [he] can't praise highly enough for their unflagging relief work in the state', and goes on to talk about AID's relief strategy. I know some of the AID people in Austin and the Bay Area, and they are one incredibly motivated bunch of volunteers. Hurrah, AIDers. Way to go!

Update : Updated the post a bit. If you are interested in contributing to the AID tsunami campaign, you can do so here. Information on AID from CharityNavigator is available here.

[Cross-posted to Zoo Station]