DC09 Posted January 3, 2005 #1 Share Posted January 3, 2005 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of millions of dollars in private U.S. donations are pouring in to help victims of Asia's tsunami, from children donating pocket money to big spenders giving seven-figure sums, said aid groups on Monday. A huge volume of Internet donors crashed the Web sites of charities, including Oxfam America for a while, and callers have been jamming switchboards in an outpouring of generosity unseen by many aid agencies since the 1984 Ethiopia famine. One of the biggest recipients of private donations is the American Red Cross, which has recorded pledges of about $79 million, spokeswoman Jacki Flowers said. "The event (tsunami) itself was unprecedented, as has been the response from donors," said Flowers. About half of donations so far came over the Internet, she added. Millions were left homeless, hungry or threatened by disease following the Dec. 26 tsunami that killed 145,000 from Thailand to Somalia. Oxfam America has raised more than $12 million in a week, despite the temporary crash of its Web site. "This is totally unprecedented and could surpass the outpouring of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia," said Oxfam spokesman Nathaniel Raymond. Charities hope an appeal on Monday by President Bush for Americans to keep giving will sustain donations. "I ask every American to contribute as they are able to do so," said Bush, who was initially criticized for not doing enough to help aid victims. The United States government has pledged about $350 million in aid, and officials have said more could eventually be offered. Bush has emphasized U.S. private giving in seeking to counter criticisms that U.S. government foreign-aid contributions have in the past been relatively small as a share of national wealth. International donors overall have promised about $2 billion in tsunami disaster assistance, but aid groups rely heavily on private funds in the early days as money promised by governments can take longer to reach victims. Full Article Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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