Friday, January 07, 2005

U.N. takes charge of effort to help tsunami victims / The Washington Times INSIDER

In today's Washington Times, David Sands writes in an article about the relief efforts in S. Asia:
"U.S. officials emphasized that the United States and other major donors would retain control of how their money would be spent, with the United Nations limited to a coordinating role. The Bush administration has pledged at least $350 million, a figure that does not include millions of dollars being spent each day to deploy the U.S. military on relief operations in the region.
Australia, which made the largest single pledge of more than $800 million, said yesterday it prefers to deal directly with Indonesia and other affected countries in disbursing its aid.
Mr. Powell said the United Nations would play "a lead role, but not the only lead role" in coordinating relief.
He pointedly noted that U.S. military personnel and private aid organizations have done virtually all of the relief work to date around Indonesia's Aceh province, with U.N. humanitarian organizations still struggling to establish a major presence.
He also said a regional U.S. relief center at the military base in Utapao, Thailand, will remain in operation, and may even expand cooperation with foreign military and civilian relief groups." LINK

I have been hearing news reports on TV that the UN would be organizing the relief effort in the next phase and had images of more UN corruption
misusing the billions of pledged dollars with the victims left with minimal help. The above plans indicate that I am not the only one with those concerns and am happy to see Australia and the US will continue to have a large role in the use of the donated funds.

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