December 31, 2004

Tsunami Disaster

This year's worst tragedy has to be what is happening now in Asia. The death count is well over 100,000 and will probably only get higher.
Indonesia, the hardest hit nation, said its toll ? now at 80,000 ? could reach 100,000, and officials began to acknowledge that the number of dead may never be known with precision, because the towering waves that smashed into Sumatra island swept entire villages with their inhabitants out to sea.

The international community has pulled together to bring relief to the survivors if any can be given. You've heard the stories - whole families killed; property destroyed; vacations ruined. If history repeats itself then we all have to be very careful for a scandal involving any moneys raised for the victims in this crisis. All fundraising is tainted with corruption. Please do the best you can to make sure that any money you give gets to wear it needs to go.

There are already reports that the legitimate organizations are having trouble distributing the goods contributed just because of the shear quantity of it all.
But with help streaming in, overstreched authorities were dealing with logistical nightmare of getting it to the needy. Tons of supplies were backlogged in Indonesia, with thousands of boxes filled with drinking water, crackers, blankets and other basic necessities piled high in an airplane hangar nearly 300 miles from Banda Aceh, the wrecked main city in the disaster zone.
This is one of those times that I wish I had the resources to quit everything I'm doing and fly to site of hopelessness and offer some kind of help or consolation. But I don't. The best I can do is gather some clothes and try to send them off. I'm not sending money. Not only do I not really have it to spare, but I don't want the money I donate to get tied up in some kind of criminal doing by some crooked chairman of some legitimate organization.

What could they do with used clothes? I don't think that's worth much as currency. What would gangsters want with used clothing?

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