Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Six Months After The Tsunami

Tomorrow is the six month anniversary of the Southeast Asian tsunami, so expect a bevy of articles in your Sunday paper. If they're honest, the stories will be negative because the tsunami aid program is underscoring the ugliness of human nature throughout the rim of the Indian Ocean.

BBC reports, for example:
  • Aid had tended to go to wealthy businesses and landowners, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor.
  • The poor were likely to spend much longer in refugee camps where it is harder to find work or rebuild lives.
  • Dalits - India's outcast caste - have been largely deprived of aid.
  • "These failures would not be tolerated after a disaster in the developed world."
The Perth Sunday Times editorializes:
Six months after billions of dollars of aid was pledged to aid tsunami-lashed Asia, most of it has yet to reach survivors because of corruption, politics and reneging by donor countries.

In a report assessing the situation at the end of April, independent Indian research group the Institute for Human Development said only 39 per cent of the $8.6 billion pledged by governments, agencies and private donors had reached people whose lives were shattered by the December 26 tsunamis.

The report, sponsored by Action-Aid, one of Britain's largest charities, found that, of the $A450 million initially pledged by the US, just 35 per cent had been paid as of April 20.

The report said that other nations were also reneging on their promises, with 84 per cent of Germany's pledged aid yet to see the light of day.
Thai Press (via Nexis) reports:
  • Tourists have not returned to Phuket, and resort workers are suffering
  • The Sri Lankan government has charged the international charity Oxfam $1 million in import fees for tsunami relief goods
  • Also in Sri Lanka, Muslims are refusing to go along with a brokered deal for the distribution of aid, which they see as giving in to the rebel Tamil Tigers.
The South China Daily Post (via Nexis) reports:
  • Up to 30,000 Phuket residents need -- but largely aren't getting -- mental health treatment because of the tragedy
  • Some tsunami victims have been helped by three or four groups, while others have received nothing. Government departments and aid organisations are still struggling to co-ordinate a sensible response.
  • In Thailand, the general view is that the needs of the very rich and the extremely poor have been met but small businesspeople say their needs have been largely ignored.