First, a positive note: The Amazon/American Cross fundraising effort has collected over 4 million for tsunami relief. This is just one of the many non-government efforts to raise funds for tsunami relief. The press seems to only talk about government contributions to the relief effort. Personally, I think co-erced taxpayer fed are a lesser source of funding than private donations. You will notice socialist organizations rarely mention private contributions in their debates about relief funds...despite the fact that private donations are providing a bulk work of disaster relief funds. The Wikipedia report on the humanitarian response to the crisis makes almost no mention of private donations or of private organizations responding to the crisis. It concentrates almost entirely on how much money is coerced from taxpayers.
The Amazon fundraiser has raised more funds for relief than many of the countries listed on Wikipedia. Faith based organizations like Catholic Relief, LDS Foundation, Islamic Relief (Indonesia is a majority Islamic country), Lutheran World Relief, Menonite Central Committee and many others are raising funds at break neck speeds and are getting needed resources to the region. NGOs like Médecins Sans Frontières are often first on the scene in hot spots around the world. Considering that the biggest challenge of the moment is stemming epidemics after the floods, MSF is providing one of the most important efforts of the moment...medical care.
I agree that countries are often in the best position to make the immediate first response to crisis. However, I think we are better off encouraging private funding to taxpayer fed relief.
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