AskWHYBlog: Carol Harvey In San Francisco

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

WHERE IS ALL THE U.S. TSUNAMI AID MONEY GOING?

As bodies lay bloating in Thailand, Sumatra, India, and Indonesia, and as Sri Lankans dug graves with their bare hands, the Sri Lankan Ambassador pled for food, medicines, and water purification tablets to protect survivors of earthquake-generated tsunamis against diarrhea and bowel diseases.

The World Health Organization warned that cholera could double the number of dead, which at 3:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, December 29, 2004, has reached 60,000.

Help is pouring in from individuals and aid organizations world wide.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004, The United States announced it more than doubled its initial pledge of $15 million dollars. raising the amount to $35 million. The State Department said The Agency For International Development planned to offer a $20 million dollar line of credit.

Yet, Jan Egaland, the UN Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs insisted Western Countries need to do more to address what could be one of the worst disasters in human history.

He said, "We were more generous when we were less rich. It is beyond me why we are so stingy."

Colin Powell responded defensively saying he wished Egaland hadn't said this. "The United States has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world." He cited a "significant increase" in aid.

Egaland protested that he had not singled out any one country.

But, Europeans, Africans, and Asians know that, relative to its wealth, America gave less to "ethnically cleansed" Ruwandan and Darfour survivors than any other country.

They watch the U.S. slash its own safety net --- health care, care for the poor, the young, the elderly ---to fight a war which slashes Iraqi lives.

Bush put three trillion into a botched missile sheild but didn't spend money to protect our soldiers with combat vehicle armor technology readily available in Silicon Valley.

Is that where all the aid money is going?