|There's a morbid fascination in watching the tsunami death toll rise, hearing the accounts of survival, and watching video footage of the wave. Now there's a new game being played: Who Wants To Be a Donor Millionaire? The bidding war going on ("Stingy? OK. How about $35million? No, make it $350million") is to be welcomed and I'm going to choke down the cynicism rising within me. Let the money flow, only make sure, a) the relief is coordinated, and b) what is pledged actually materialises (which is what didn't happen at Bam).
Here's the Headlife donor league table: (updated 1.1.05)
1. Japan $500m (0.014% of GDP)*
2. United States $350m (0.003% of GDP)**
3. World Bank $200m
4. UK $95m (0.006% of GDP)
5. Sweden $75.5m (0.03%)
6. France $57m (0.003%)
7. EU $41m
8. Australia $27m (0.005%)
(Source: Fox News, BBC; GDP figures are mine)
For your comparison: the cost of the war in Iraq - about $150 billion (about 1.4% of America's GDP). Not to mention the dead. Oh dear, the cynicism arrived after all.
One final thought: don't hide behind your government. How much money have you given?
OK, one more: Saudi Arabia's offer (so far) - $10m (0.004% of GDP). Just so you can gauge the response of the wealthy Islamic world (remembering, of course, that Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country)
*In case you were wondering.
** Assuming an annual income of $50,000, you would need to donate $1.50 to keep up with the American government's donation.
[Disclaimer: I'm no statistician and this ain't Fact Check. Calm down.]