Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Once Again I Beg Your Attention

The corporate media in the U.S. have largely lost interest, but the BBC is still paying attention to the former colony:

The UN says the shortfall in aid for victims of the South Asian quake has made the relief situation worse than after last December's tsunami.

UN emergency relief chief, Jan Egeland, said the organisation had never seen such a "logistical nightmare".

Mr Egeland said an airlift was needed of the proportions of the Berlin blockade of the 1940s, when Allies flew in supplies to the divided city in communist eastern Europe.

He said aid had to be sent in, and tens of thousands of homeless and injured people flown out, of remote regions before winter set in.

Mr Egeland said of the aid sent so far: "This is not enough. We have never had this kind of logistical nightmare ever. We thought the tsunami was the worst we could get. This is worse."

Mr Egeland said only $86m had been pledged of the £312m the UN had asked for to fund the relief operation - and far less actually received in hard cash.

Earlier, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the global relief effort to be increased to help three million people made homeless by the 8 October quake and facing the fierce Himalayan winter without shelter.

"That means a second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now," he said.

Mr Annan said that in the most affected areas hospitals, schools, water systems and roads had all been destroyed.

He called upon top international representatives to attend a UN-sponsored donors conference in Geneva, Switzerland, next week.

Mr Annan's chief aid co-ordinator in Islamabad, Andrew McLeod, told the BBC: "If the second wave of deaths hit, it's the major donors that are going to have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask why."

Now, I know the U.S. can't possibly afford to give more because we have more essential priorities such as abolishing the death tax and bringing the light of freedom and democracy to the Greater Middle East by means of expensive 500 pound bombs. But I hope that those who can afford to give will do so.

Please see Fouad's post, below.


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