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Friday, 7 October, 2005

Duelling agencies hurt tsunami relief

The tsunami which devastated Aceh on Dec. 26, 2004, left 164,000 people dead or missing and over 400,000 homeless. It rapidly became the most reported and well-funded disaster in history. Over 200 humanitarian organizations — plus 3,000 military troops from a dozen countries — arrived to offer aid.

Neighbouring countries were quick to respond. Language and culture proved no obstacle to their teams, which swiftly grasped immediate needs. Yet many international agencies brought in staff from Europe or America, when they could have exploited regional expertise.

Although international agencies were right in guessing that water, food and shelter would be survivors' initial needs, they were wrong to assume these needs would not be covered, at least partially, by Indonesians themselves. Agencies did little to suppress the myth of disaster victims dependent on external aid to survive. At the root of co-ordination problems was one key factor: too much money. Read More....

Source: The Toronto Star
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