Did you contribute tsunami aid? It seems a lot of good people and companies did. Here is a view as to what has happened.
[quote]Bolton’s sin is telling truth about system
May 15, 2005,
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Remember the tsunami? Big story, 300,000 dead; America and other rich countries too “stingy” in their response; government ministers from every capital on earth announcing on CNN every 10 minutes more and more millions and gazillions. It was in all the papers for a week or two, but not a lot of water under the bridge since then, and as a result this interesting statistic may not have caught your eye:
Five hundred containers, representing one-quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on Dec. 26, are still sitting on the dock in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed.
At the Indonesian port of Medan, 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.
Four months ago, did you chip in to the tsunami relief effort? Did your company? A Scottish subsidiary of the Body Shop donated a 40-foot container of “Lemon Squidgit” and other premium soap, which arrived at Medan in January and has languished there ever since because of "incomplete paperwork,’’ according to Indonesian customs officials.
Well, those soapy Scots were winging it – like so many of us, eager to help but too naive to understand that, no matter the scale of devastation visited upon a hapless developing nation, its obstructionist bureaucracy will emerge from the rubble unscathed. Yet, among the exhaustive examples of wasted Western generosity unearthed by the Financial Times, what struck me was not the free-lancers but the permanent floating crap game of international high-rollers who couldn’t penetrate the labyrinth of Indonesian paperwork.
Diageo sent eight 20-foot containers of drinking water via the Red Cross. “We sent it directly to the Red Cross in order to get around the red tape,” explained its Sydney office. It arrived in Medan in January and it’s still there. The Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork.
UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency, sent 14 ambulances to Indonesia, and they took two months to clear customs. Terrible as it was in its awesome fury, the tsunami was in the end transnational business as usual.
Which brings me to the John Bolton nomination process, which is taking so long you’d think the U.S. Senate was run by Indonesian customs inspectors. Writing of near-Ambassador Bolton’s difficulty getting his paperwork stamped by the Foreign Relations Committee, National Review’s Cliff May observed that "the real debate is between those who think the U.N. needs reform – and those who think the U.S. needs reform.’’ b[/b]
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Oh…and this article has an interesting anecdote about Canadian PM Paul Martin and his “Canadian Committment.”