Thursday, December 30, 2004

Widow's might

I have just been looking at the horrifying news that the death toll is now 114,000 but known to be set to rise still further. In the face of this disaster we all seek to do what we can. It is not for most of us to rush to volunteer to go and help. No doubt a vast horde of well-intentioned amateurs would cause more problems which would outweigh any benefits. So surely for those of us with means the task is to give and to give according to our means.

If you want to do that (from the UK) you can either call 0870 60 60 900 or visit From elsewhere in the world I think this link to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent should work.

Today I am proud to be British and indeed European because the United Nations has published the money pledged by various countries. The UK shows a generosity that is pretty exemplary for such a relatively small country. If I were Indian I should be even more proud as the government has declined help and declared its intention not only to provide for those in their country affected but also to send help to Indonesia.

So here are the figures for intial pledges from the BBC, courtesy of Reuters and the UN:

World Bank $250m
UK $96m
EU $44m
US: $35m
Canada: $33m
Japan: $30m
Australia: $27m
France: $20.4m
Denmark: $15.6m
Saudi Arabia: $10m
Norway: $6.6m
Taiwan: $5.1m
Finland: $3.4m
Kuwait: $2.1m
Netherlands: $2.6m
UAE: $2m
Ireland $1.3m
Singapore: $1.2m

(These changed as I typed this blog entry so they maybe out of date when you read.)

As someone who works for a church I know the difficulty of discussing levels of giving with people. My understanding of international economics is not what it could be but I'm sure I'm right in thinking that the US is a bit bigger than us. Could they maybe not dig a little deeper. I'm currently watching Season One of West Wing and I'm sure President Bartlett would be a little more generous!

To my American Friends... this is not a dig at your country really. Well ok maybe it is a bit. Justified though, surely?


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Anonymous said...

No need to have a dig at the US, their own citizens are doing it themselves! Have a read of where an Anglican Priest in the US is pretty embarassed by the response from his government.

The interesting bit is about halfway down. Statistics of note:

In terms of pure cash, the US gives most money of any country in the world.

However, in terms of overseas development as a percentage of national income, amongst the 22 top industrialised nations the US ranked bottom for 2003 at 0.15%.

Having said that, we don't do overly well either, at only 0.34%...