Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Médecins sans frontières halts fundraising

Le Monde reports that major charity/aid agency MSF has decided to stop raising funds for tsunami victims, largely thanks to the overwhelming response. They have currently received over 41 million euros and, if they carry on fundraising, they'll apparently end up with more money than they can realistically put to good use.

It's very easy to start wondering how they can be so stupid as to refuse money - especially (as the same Le Monde article points out) when after the Iranian earthquake just over a year ago so few of the promised funds were actually delivered. Shouldn't MSF continue collecting - even if only to stash the cash in a high-interest account to be put to other good use later on or to pass the money on to other organisations working in the region? Better too much than too little, surely?

But the level of support for the tsunami victims is quite astonishing - almost unimaginable amounts of money have been pledged by governments and public alike. It is not hard to see aid agencies becoming overwhelmed.

However (as MSF and others have pointed out), it would be rather nice if - at the same time - there could be similar levels of support for other, less photogenically dramatic humanitarian crises in the forgotten corners of the globe.

The recent cover-version of the Band Aid single did well in the run-up to Christmas, but was so utterly dire many people couldn't bring themselves to buy it. Now the tsunami disaster has blotted out the on-going problems in Africa and elsewhere once again, just as the talentless but well-intentioned pop "stars" behind the charity record seemed about to raise the profile of those dying in Ethiopa and elsewhere once more.

Here's a thought - if you're planning to donate to help the tsunami victims, why not bunk a percentage of your planned donation towards the African famine sufferers, and help them out a bit as well?

Nosemonkey would now like to apologise for sounding even more self-righteous than usual.

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