In contrast to the paltry immediate efforts of the U.S. in the earthquake response, European nations and Kuwait offered immediate help. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Private and government aid teams yesterday flew from several European capitals to southern Asian countries to offer immediate help. The Italian Foreign Ministry's crisis unit was coordinating European Union aid efforts, and Italy, Sweden, Germany and Britain were among the first to send teams of technical experts. In Brussels, EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said it was important to bring aid "in those vital hours and days immediately after the disaster." The 25-nation EU will deliver Euro 3 million ($4 million) in emergency aid as a start. The Kuwaiti government also announced that it was sending $1 million in aid.
In the same article, the Wall Street Journal described U.S. efforts:
It added that U.S. relief efforts were already under way to assist people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Administration officials said U.S. ambassadors in some countries in the region were using discretionary funds to help, but didn't specify in which countries that was happening, or quantify the assistance.
Among the resources U.S. officials were considering scrambling for action were specialized military Disaster Assistance Response Teams that are based both in the U.S. and the region, Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel and National Disaster Medical System units from the Department of Homeland Security. Officials also considered sending food, clothing and medicine.
The CNN report cited in the previous blog entry quantifies the "U.S. relief efforts ... already under way to assist people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives": $100,000 each.
Now that the details are available, shouldn't the press ask how they could be so cavalierly misled by the Administration--does $100,000 really constitute "relief efforts"?
When disaster strikes in Asia, or Africa, or Latin America--I always ask myself the following question: How would we have responded if the disaster had struck elsewhere? Why are some people's lives more precious and others more mean?