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Two for you, one for me... two for you, one for me...

It's been a while since the tsunami that devastated the nations bordering the Indian Ocean -- about a year -- and a lot of details of those days have faded in that time. But I think I recall most of the details:

1) The United States, through the Navy, was the first nation to respond in force.

2) For quite a while, the US Navy was THE relief agency on the scene.

3) The United States people, through private individuals, organizations, and corporations ended up raising over 4.1 billion dollars for tsunami relief.

4) The United Nations' Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, initially accused the United States of being "stingy" for not giving more to the UN for relief -- an accusation he later had to eat.

Now, a year later, people are finally looking at the books -- and it's quite enlightening.

A good charity, I've been led to understand, keeps it overhead to a minimum. I've heard 10% of total funding going to keeping the organization going is a good rule of thumb. Some non-profits, like museums, have much higher overheads, and can creep close to 17% -- which means that one out of six dollars they receive goes towards basic expenses, and not the core function of the group.

So, how did the United Nations do with that over half a billion dollars they solicited from the nations of the world? In the face of this catastrophe, unprecedented in the modern world, the single greatest national disaster since the United Nations was founded?

Much like a gangster discussing "protection" premiums with a businessman in the neighborhood. "You gimme a third, and we make sure nothing bad will happen to you."

That's right. About one dollar in three of the $595 million dollars they took in -- just under $200 million dollars -- just vanished into the misty worlds of "overhead," "miscellaneous expenses," "administration," and whatnot.

Hey, UN, the next time you need the US for something, pull the other leg for a change. That one's getting tired.


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Comments (14)

Thats the perception and t... (Below threshold)

Thats the perception and the way it appears it will always be. No matter how much we help we always are called out to do more. How about just a thank you.
Raymond B
www.voteswagon.com

Whenever I begin reading po... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Whenever I begin reading posts about the United Nations I am prepared to not be surprised about anything that concerns this organization. I was not surprised about the Oil For Food Program scandal and this information is also of no surprise. I don't care how much the descendents of Eleanor Roosevelt scream, the UN needs an extreme makeover. Meanwhile I'll just scroll down to the next item and smile again at Santa's good fortune.

There's a proverb, I believ... (Below threshold)

There's a proverb, I believe it's African, that goes something like:

Indecision is like a stepchild. If he washes his hands, he is wasting water, but if he doesn't, he's dirty.

I assume it sounds better in the original language.

That's how I feel whenever something like this happens and America tries to help: we never do enough, and if we refrain from helping because we have our own problems, we're the Evil Americans.

*sigh*

That's absolutely obscene. ... (Below threshold)

That's absolutely obscene. But shouldn't really be a surprise after the recent "Oil For Kickbacks" scheme. ;-(

Maybe Kojo needed a new Maybach?

Chris
http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

2) For quite a while, th... (Below threshold)

2) For quite a while, the US Navy was THE relief agency on the scene.

Jay, don't forget the Australian Navy, who was there almost as fast as we were. In fact, they might have got there a wee bit ahead of us due to their closer proximity to the action. Their contribution was invaluable and they worked shoulder to shoulder with our guys.

Let's here it for the Aussies! They're our prime ally in the War on Terror and here, too, they showed (once again) that they have to walk bow-legged because of all the clanking down below.

Hey, watch it. Five star h... (Below threshold)
opine6:

Hey, watch it. Five star hotels are expensive and so are Land Rovers (the first needs for the 'plannin and coordinatin" the UN does). As I recall, it took the UN six weeks to actually set foot in the tsunami-affected areas.

Guess what they sent to Pakistan for earthquake relief? Thin, desert tents that aren't even waterproof, much less thick enough to block out some of the freezing temperatures (saw this on CNN this morning). They sent no heaters, either.

What a waste and a scam the UN is.

OregonMuse and opine6 bring... (Below threshold)

OregonMuse and opine6 bring up two good points with respect to the UN tsunami effort. US and Australian military units were on scene and operating hospitals and helicoptering supplies around before UN representatives ever arrived. When the first UN people did get there, their first order of business (sadly, this is true) was to locate four and five star hotels for UN personnel to stay in. Second order of business was to schedule a press conference at one of those swanky hotels and try to take credit for truck convoys actually paid for, organized and operated by the State Department's USAid program.

just under $200 mi... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
just under $200 million dollars -- just vanished into the misty worlds of "overhead," "miscellaneous expenses," "administration," and whatnot.

Hey, it takes a lot of three-martini Manhattan lunches to organize such a massive relief effort.

That's right, kbiel! I've ... (Below threshold)

That's right, kbiel! I've always thought the GC should move their butts to Kabul so they can enjoy amenities offered by other peoples. And, to see what good business really looks like.

However, the tsunami provided an opportunity to get closer to the left.

The progress in the region ... (Below threshold)

The progress in the region is almost exclusively being made by private charities, with the funds they raised and that from USAID contracts.

Some enviro wackos noticed that the fisherfolk of the region were being given new boats. Since the wackos believe that fishing stocks are depleted, they persuaded the FAO, a UN agency, to hold back on delivery of 2,400 boats to people who only know how to fish for a living.

Here's a partial compendium of the relief and recovery effort.

Not to worry. The UNocrat'... (Below threshold)
K:

Not to worry. The UNocrat's will soon issue another final analysis of what others should have done within six hours after the event to fix it all.

They need a few more weeks to edit the part explaining why the US caused the quake. You must not rush when living in luxury hotels. Bad form, that!

In the face of this cata... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

In the face of this catastrophe, unprecedented in the modern world, the single greatest national disaster since the United Nations was founded? Actually, I think the 250,000 figure who died in the tsunami was less than the 800 hundred thousand who died in a 100 day slaughter in Rwanda while the big powers on Security Council, including the US and Clinton spent their time fiddling and hair-spliting as to whether 'acts of genocide' consituted genocide because if they did, that would have legally impelled a commitment to support the paltry few hundred UN peacekeepers on the ground. In the end they, the great powers on the Security Council decided to do nothing, because rather than 'pull another leg' a 'committee has no trousers'. But alas, there are consequences for doing nothing, as Clinton(USA) or Kofi (UN) attested to later with their reputations damaged; but more importantly their mea culpas came far too late to save the thousands of innocent people massacred in this Rwanda disaster, which a few thousand additional UN troops could have prevented, if not seriously reduced.

Two hundred million dollars... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Two hundred million dollars is a.lot.of.money.

It's A LOT OF MONEY to evaporate into the helpyourself pot that is the U.N.

I am of the opinion at this point that the current U.N. configuration will continue to helpitself to all the two hundred million dollar treats it wants to until and unless whoever is involved is held publicly responsible.

I watched those few nasty and impatient retorts by Anan last week, when someone tried to get a specific response from him about this same financial grafting and I think he's the smoothest con man I have ever seen.

They take what they want because they know no one's going to hold them accountable. All that Anan has to do is get stern and demand that people move on and then the issue is embarrassed away into oblivion. Example: I've yet to hear about Anan being held accountable for the Oil For Food and his son's Switzerland bank accounts and all that.

So, now we have TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS just evaporated into business suits, room service and four star hotels and land rovers and residences in Switzerland and apartments in Manhattan and remodelling and retirement accounts in the Caymans and...

Disgusting. Two hundred million dollars. It's.a.lot.of.money.

And Bill Clinton's going to... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And Bill Clinton's going to continue to raise money, he says! For the U.N. and the tsunami victims, he says!

And Hillary is going to continue taking things away from everyone for the good of, the good of...um...

Two.hundred.million.dollars.has.evaporated.into.expenses.spent...it makes my hundred dollars donated to the Red Cross seem so palty but my hundred dollars was very valued by me, meant a hundred dollars not spent on necessities.

It's just so wrong, people living so well on such suffering of so many, I can barely stand to think about this: two.hundred.million.dollars.evaporated.away.into.expenses.and.fine.hotels.




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