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U.S. aid- for whom and for what?
Tsunami aid 'went to the richest' |
Six months after the Asian tsunami, a leading international charity says the poorest victims have benefited the least from the massive relief effort.
A survey by Oxfam found that aid had tended to go to businesses and landowners, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor.
The poor were likely to spend much longer in refugee camps where it is harder to find work or rebuild lives.
Oxfam has called for aid to go to the poorest and most marginalised.
They must not be left out of reconstruction efforts, the charity said.
The tsunami in the Indian Ocean on 26 December killed at least 200,000 people in countries as far apart as Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia.
David Loyn, the BBC's developing world correspondent, says it is perhaps not surprising that the poorest suffered the most from the disaster itself.
Living in frail shelter, on marginal land, they were literally swept away by the waves, and the survivors among the poorest communities had less access to medical help than richer people did.
The survey points to the marginalisation of dalits - outcasts in India - and specific problems in Sri Lanka where aid has gone to businesses and landowners rather than the landless.
This poverty gap is worst in Aceh, the Indonesian province which was the most badly affected area, already impoverished by conflict before the tsunami hit.
Half a million survivors were homeless.
Yet the wealthier among them have already been able to move out of temporary camps.
Another survey by a group of British academics monitoring the delivery of aid has found that, six months on, there is little evidence of permanent accommodation being built for most people.
It says starkly that these failures would not be tolerated after a disaster in the developed world.
All aid agencies, as well as regional governments must share some blame for this failure, our correspondent adds.
The unprecedented international response to the tragedy means that the immediate humanitarian demands could be fully funded.
Failure to deliver assistance effectively to the poorest, or to plan properly for the future, reveals fundamental weaknesses in the system.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/06/25 02:48:49 GMT
© BBC MMVIII
Contributions of individual countries towards global commitments are assessed by reference to a UN Resolution passed as long ago as 1970 – and renewed recently in the Monterrey Consensus of 2002 – in which the richest countries agreed to increase aid budgets to 0.7% of national income. So far only five countries, led by Sweden, have exceeded this commitment, the remainder being so far behind that the average for 2006 was an embarrassing 0.30%, less than the equivalent figure for 1990. There are however some signs of greater determination - the European Union has agreed on a collective target of 0.56% by 2010, and 0.7% by 2015; with the UK issuing a fresh commitment to reach the target by 2012. By contrast the US at 0.17% lags behind all relevant countries apart from Greece.
The cost of reconstruction of war zones is a rather more controversial inclusion in aid statistics, given the overlap with security issues, and given that its volume is currently on a similar scale to humanitarian aid. US reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan has created a tendency for misleading statements about “new” aid commitment.
Bomb a country and then count the "reconstruction" as aid- a great policy and a friend winner for sure.
Is this why African nations recently refused Bush Junior's request for permission for the U.S. to build more military bases there?