Posts from December 29, 2004

The toll

The toll

: The toll rises to 82,000 so far.

: More than 5,000 Australians are still missing. UPDATE: A commenter says I’m wrong and it’s 5,000 foreigners. I can’t find the original story (and neglected to link to it late last night, messing up in every way). I stand corrected.

: Here is a frightening story of a mother who had to choose one child to hold and one to let go. I will not make you suffer suspense: The child she let go survived and all escaped.

A survivor blogs

A survivor blogs

: Evelyn Rodriguez — a blogger and kindred spirit regarding citizens’ media and marketing — survived the tsunami in Phuket and she blogs about it as she gets to Bangkok and out of Thailand. I won’t quote. Just go read.

: The Guardian quotes from more survivor blogs.

Who’s stingy?

Who’s stingy?

: The NY Times headline this morning says: “Irate Over ‘Stingy’ Remark, U.S. Adds $20 Million to Disaster Aid.’

Now that makes a direct cause-and-effect relationship; the headline says we added $20 million because of the U.N. “stingy” crack.

The story does not back that up. I don’t believe the facts back that up.

: Somebody tell me when France decides to add to its $170,000. [That’s in Australian dollars, I’m now told. The amount in U.S. dollars: $135,000.]

: Donations to Amazon’s relief fund passed $1 million before 7 this morning.

: UPDATE: Bush responds to the “stingy” crack. He says it was misguided and misinformed. He said that in 2004, the U.S. provided $2.4 billion in government relief — not including private relief — and that was 40 percent of worldwise aid. “We’re a very generous and kind-hearted nation,” he said.

: UPDATE: The Washington Times says it went over the transcript of the first Egeland briefing:

Despite his claim of being “misinterpreted,” a review of the transcript of Mr. Egeland’s initial press briefing confirms that he asked reporters at the United Nations why Western countries are “so stingy” and specifically cited the United States as an example of a country whose citizens want to pay more taxes so that foreign aid can be increased.

“An unprecedented disaster like this one should lead to unprecedented generosity,” Mr. Egeland said in his Monday briefing.

Mr. Egeland complained that the United States gives only 0.14 percent of its gross domestic product to foreign development aid, compared with 0.92 percent given by his native Norway. In this category, Norway ranks first and the United States ranks last on a list of 22 industrialized nations compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“The foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of their gross national income,” Mr. Egeland said on Monday. “I think that is stingy really. I don’t think that is very generous.”

He pointed out that only Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as the Netherlands and Luxembourg, give at least 0.7 percent of their gross national income, a level suggested by the United Nations 25 years ago.

Mr. Egeland

A wave of destruction and death

A wave of destruction and death

: We try to make sense of what we do not know by relating it to what we know. So pardon me for making an obvious connection, obvious for me. But watching the videos of the tsunami coming onshore reminded me of too much of escaping the wall of destruction and death that came as the first of the towers collapsed on September 11th.

Same beautiful, cloudless day. Same shock. Same speed, running faster than any man could run. Same power. Same sound. Same deadly debris carried along by its force. Same images of the helpless at their last moments. Same color of gray in its wake.

Of course, one was caused by evil man, the other by uncaring nature. One cost thousands of innocent lives, the other many thousands more.

But I think I understand the emotions of those who shot these videos and were there and were lucky enough to live.