Tuesday, December 28, 2004


The reported Tsunami death toll is rising by 1000s every hour --- they say it might hit 50,000 (if it hasn't already). The tamilnadu coast (the closest point of which is less than 150km from where i sit right now) has been badly hit. There was a pretty dramatic 'before' and 'after' picture shot by a vacationer Naresh Lalvani in 'The Hindu' today. My family has spent many previous winter vacations in a mamallapuram beach resort much like this one.

The easiest thing to do at a time like this is to give money. And money will probably go a considerable way to provide relief. But with the scores of 'relief funds' available, it's not easy to know which one to give to. Knowing how the government works here, I suspect that giving to govt. funds such as the Prime Minister's Relief Fund is probably not the best option. Then there are funds run by media outlets. I've already heard from my two biggest sources of news at the moment --- NDTV (which is doing a pretty decent job of upto the minute reporting) and the Hindu. But since i don't know of their track record in relief work i'm not sure i should donate to them. Finally there are the traditional NGOs - the Red Cross, Oxfam, World Vision and (a smaller one that i just heard of via email) AID India. A cursory examination of these options suggests to me that World Vision might be a good option because of their many decades of experience in relief, their large size (and, presumably, resources), their location close to the worst-hit areas (Kodambakkam, Chennai) and their financial accountability. Maybe their media presence is no reflection of their competence and they're just good at PR, but they managed to make their way into an NDTV news story on the relief operation in Machilipatnam, put out an ad in today's paper, and be interviewed by Renee Montagne on NPR. One objection i have with them is that while their website says that they are 'Christian relief and development organization serving the poor from all castes and religions in India for over 40 years' their ad in today's paper (which is sure to be seen by a lot more ppl) makes no mention of the Christian bit. Maybe they think a little falseness in advertising (or perhaps 'partial-truthfulness') will help them raise more funds.

UPDATE : A blog devoted to Tsunami Relief --- http://tsunamihelp.blogspot.com/


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