Thursday, December 30, 2004

Southeast Asian Tsunami relief

“Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute”

Boy, howdy, the Shrub does it again. First he’s caught asleep at the ranch when the most powerful underwater earthquake in modern history causes a 500 mph tsunami to obliterate the coastlines of virtually the entire Indian Ocean basin, killing over 100,000 people, breaking legs and heads, smashing homes and businesses, wiping out the entire fishing fleet of Sri Lanka and making literally millions of people homeless and jobless, and does he offer the services of the Seabees, the National Guard, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Coast Guard, anything?
Well, yes, he does. He snapped, “Send ‘em a check for, I dunno, $15 mil and tell ‘em to shut up.” And went back to sleep.

When the UN’s representative Jan Egeland commented on the world’s stinginess in response to this overwhelming tragedy, Colin Powell hastily called a news conference to brag how the US is such a big giver. Baloney. Fifteen mil, later raised to a total of $35 mil, amounts to roughly $900 per dead body, and only dead bodies – but the damage goes way beyond mere dead people. The death insurance you buy off the back of matchbook covers pays out better than that.

Think about it: we’re talking 100,000 dead. The population of the impacted (and I mean impacted) areas is in the hundreds of millions, with an estimated 5 million directly affected. So what with flattened buildings, fishing boats smashed to splinters, businesses completely wiped out, cholera and dysentery most certainly on the way and the death toll from those, the total of the world’s relief money will probably be on the order of a few pennies per survivor.

God help those poor people, because Bush most certainly does not.

You can help, though. Send these people money. Money is preferred to food, clothes, etc., because it gives the relief organizations on the spot flexibility in making triage decisions.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres 1-888-392-0392:

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC Crisis Fund) 1-888-588-2372:

Donate to the American Red Cross:

The Red Crescent:

And check out this Christian Science Monitor website for a much more complete listing of donation and disaster relief websites: