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December 29, 2004
On The Matter Of Stinginess

After the foolish comment made by UN undersecretary Jan Egelend about Western "stinginess" towards disaster relief, we wondered exactly to whom Egeland could refer. After all, Americans give more private donations in both time and money than any other nation. More specifically, we asked ourselves exactly how much the Europeans pitched into the relief effort through official government channels. Thanks to Reuters Foundation AlertNet, those figures are now available to us (via Instapundit):

Australia: $26M, plus five military transports and 50 specialists
Austria: $1.36M
Belgium: One military transport to deliver UNICEF aid
Britain: 370K (pounds), $100K, plus $481K of materials to Sri Lanka
Denmark: 45 tonnes of supplies, $1.82M
EU: "Ready to release" 30M Euro, 3M Euro already released.
France: 100K Euros ($140,000)
Finland: 500K Euro.
Germany: 2M Euro.
Greece: 17 doctors and staff.
Italy: 2 helicopters and crew.
Netherlands: 2M Euros.
Poland: $336K
Spain: 1M Euros pledged, 19 volunteers
Sweden: Two communications specialists and some tents and radios.

Now put that against our initial pledge of $35 million, plus 12 US Navy vessels and 5,000 sailors to support rescue and humanitarian aid, and tell me who's being stingy. Americans donating through Amazon have collected almost eight times what the French have sent, apart from our official government contribution. Only Australia comes close to our efforts -- no surprise if you know any Australians, a brave and noble people.

Egeland used his moment of fame to besmirch those who have always responded to catastrophes around the world with our time, money, and prayers. He would have done better to look closer to home. I notice Norway, Egeland's home country, is conspicuously absent from this list, and France might as well be.

UPDATE: As Gaius Livius prompts me in the comments, let's not forget Japan, who's also ponied up $30M.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 29, 2004 7:42 AM

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