Donations pile up; Looking at the World response

UPDATE 3: The CBC now reports that private Canadian donations have topped $70 million and Paul Martin says Canada will give “significantly more” than the $80 million already pledged.


The CBC reports from a Paul Martin press conference that Canadians have contributed $70 million so far and that his government will significantly boost its’ $80 million pledge in the coming days.

$70 million in private donations and counting.. from a country of 30 million… that’s over $2 per citizen. And the generosity keeps growing, there are reports of towns and cities trying to “adopt” devastated towns in the affected area so as to use it as a teaching tool for students while at the same time provide direct support to those towns. One of these towns is Gold River, on Vancouver Island. It’s a town that has known great hardship over the past few years as its’ main industry left and the town shrank. Now the town of 1500 is working to adopt a town in Indonesia.

The CBC also reports that a Vietnamese Budhhist temple in Burnaby that was being sold originally to raise funds for a new temple will now be sold with all money going to Thailand to help victims there.

The BBC is covering the snowball effect.

Germany is now pledging $674 million, the UK is going to “significantly boost” it’s 100 million in the next few days, Canada has declared a unilateral moratorium on all debt for the countries affected (other countries are seriously considering the same).

Here’s the link to the Australia pledge of $764 million.

I hope these lofty sums are backed up by real money!

First, I found confirmation of the Feds matching donations. It seems to be going through the Canadian International Development Agency, they are matching any funds donated to Canadian charities until January 11.
I’ve also read news reports thatAmericans can donate to Care Canada. Not sure if it applies to all charities… but if it means the Canadian government might match your donation, it might be worth trying to donate to a Canadian charity just in case! CIDA is matching up to $25 million in donations and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continued once that total was achieved.

It seems to be very tough to find a roundup of what the various countries in the world are giving, but in all cases it seems that the governments of the world, and their people have really stepped up. Canada has currently pledged 80 million but says that will increase on Jan 11 when the UN holds its’ donor conference. Canada is also send it’s Canadian Forces Disaster Area Relief Team (DART). This team has the capability to provide up to 200,000 litres of purified water a day, plus provide medical services and shelter to those affected. Normally the team is supposed to be deployed right away, before NGOs can get there and leave relatively quickly. But this time the Government was slow deploying the team… and it seems as though that was because they were preparing to leave it in operationg for a long time. Which is a great thing. I hope DART stays there as long as they are needed.

The US has, the last I saw pledged over $350 million. An amazing amount of cash… this is in addition to the indispensable military relief effort that they are providing in the area. It must be said that America is always one of the first to step up to the task of helping those caught in a natural disaster.

But that brings me to my last point which does not at all focus solely on Americans but rather on all of our governments in the world. On the CBC yesterday I heard that after the huge earthquake in Iran last year $1.1 billion in aid was pledged to help. Of that $1.1 BILLION less than 20 million has actually been spent.

20 million.

That just shows how short our governments attention span can be, and why private aid/donations can be so much more effective.

I can only hope that the sheer magnitude of this disaster will ensure that all the governments involved will follow up on their initial pledges of relief (totalling over 2 billion now, and rising) and make sure that that money goes to help rebuild the lives of those devastated by this disaster.

3 replies on “Donations pile up; Looking at the World response”

  1. Chris, thanks for that very informative and positive report. The response has been stupendous IMO as developed countries around the world have had a chance to assess the tsunami victims needs. There are still huge regions in Aceh which have not been reached except by plane surveillence. I imagine there will be huge more numbers of dead and injured when all impacted communities have been actually reached. I look for the death toll in Indonesia to be close to 200,000 when it’s all counted.

    I wonder why the UN hasn’t been after those 2003 Bam quake pledges. I know the countries pledging are most responsible for not making their promises good but I think the UN should put some real effort in collecting these monies. If Iwere in charge at UN Relief, I’d be howling at the deadbeats. People in Bam are still suffering with inadequate housing and other basic needs not yet restored. I don’t know who the slow payers are but if the US is one of them, I will make my displeasure known to my congressperson, two senators, the GOP AND the Prez.

    As to the efforts of all the nations involved, the NGOs, the UN, the military of several countries, I’m to the point that I see everywhere a real concern for the victims and a real effort being made to help these poor people so I don’t care anymore who give what and how much as long as what is given is being used for the correct purposes and is ongoing. Colin Powell and GWB have both publically stated that the US will stay in it for the long-haul. I sincerely hope that we are and that we back up thata promise. It is the right thing to do and when you do right, you are blessed and so are those who are on the receiving end.

    Well, enough preaching for now. But it really does warm my heart to see starving, parched persons being reached and given sustanence. The pictures say more than a 1000 words regarding their desperation and relief when they are helped. It breaks your heart to see such human misery. It also breaks your heart when you see how much they appreciate the help given.

  2. Hi Jane.

    Given the huge gap in announced pledges and actual funds delivered to Bam I’d have to assume that every country involved is probably guilty of not ante-ing-up.

    Unfortunately the UN doesn’t seem to have any teeth (surprise surprise) to actually squeeze the money out of these nations. Nor do the NGOs as they are too busy doing the dirty work.

    I heard on the radio this morning that there is initiative growing to start some sort of accountability process to ensure that nations who pledge a donation actually follow through.

    It was started by Sweden and is now being implemented by the Canadian government as well… or so the radio said, it was only about 5 seconds, so I’m going to go do some digging to try to find out more.

    They did say something crazy though… apparently in the past, the majority of money that is pledged actually goes back to the Donor Nation to cover “Administration” and other Beauracratic mumbo-jumbo! CRAZY! and sad. Something that needs to be changed.

  3. Hi Chris

    I think the press should get involved and do some investigation
    (unbiased) and start giving the public a list of all the countries that have not honored their pledges for Bam and then do the same follow-up for the tsunami pledges. I thing the only thing that seems to matter to a bunch of the world’s leaders is good press/bad press. When the press gets bad, sometimes things change. In this case, I thing the UN should somehow get the word out so that the dead beat countries have a public shaming. And that goes for the US as well.

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