Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Red Cross site has a press release detailing information on how to contribute to humanitarian aid for the victims of the tsunami. If you're a DBS account holder, you can donate directly from their internet banking website as well - instructions are on their front page.

From Sunday till today, I've watched the death tolls on CNN and BBC escalate from 2000, to 9000, to 10,000, and now 60,000. Even as I type this the TV tells me it's now 71,000. It's like a nightmare that won't stop. I don't remember a disaster as large, that affected as many countries - when you count the human connections, the relatives, the people who knew people who knew people, when you think about the fact that in countries as far away as Sweden (apparently the majority of tourists in the parts of Thailand that were hit) families will grieve, you realise that this is perhaps a globalised world's first global disaster.

The one thing that bugs me now is how aid and humanitarian assistance will reach the places that need it most - some countries have been hit much harder than others, but there seems to be no international effort to co-ordinate or allocate relief to where it's needed most. No doubt in a few months time, when the engines get into gear, there'll be more than enough aid to go around, but right now, in the crucial days and weeks where people could still die from disease and injury, it seems the world needs concerted leadership to organise humanitarian efforts. Surely it would be a colossally irresponsible of us to let the outpouring of support and aid be frittered away in inefficiency. I hear the UN will issue an appeal for aid on Monday - but a week is very long time for the tsunami victims to wait.

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