From today's New York Times, an example of what I was talking about here and here: the victims of the tsunami will need sustained aid commitments, not just emergency relief. The headline says it all: "For Honduras and Iran, World's Aid Evaporated." When Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras, everyone promised lots of aid and sustained commitments - but it didn't happen.
But just as the first new bricks were being laid, the United States Congress set a two-year-deadline on Washington's reconstruction programs, contending that the money was for emergency relief. And when the federal money was gone, so were many private organizations, whether their projects were finished or not.Let's not make the same mistake this time.
Phil Gelman, regional adviser for the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, was working in Honduras for Care International at the time. That deadline, he said, doomed American projects to fail at achieving long-term goals.
Let's not default on our pledges either, as happened after the Bam earthquake a year ago:
A year after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 destroyed the central city of Bam, killing more than 40,000 people and leaving almost as many homeless, the streets there are still strewn with mounds of rubble. Tens of thousands of people who lost their homes remain crowded in prefabricated housing. [...] Iranian officials reported that they had received only $17 million of the $1 billion pledged by the international community to help rebuild the 2000-year-old city.