It wasn’t enough for scum-sucking leeches to kidnap, defraud, rob, and rape survivors of last week’s tsunami. No, they have to go after victims’ families abroad. Sweden won’t release the names of hundreds of missing Swedes for fear that thieves will target their homes. Fake charities are springing up to siphon off donations. And one man inexplicably spammed worried family members “confirming” that their missing loved ones were dead.
Fortunately this isn’t the whole story. The outpouring of aid to stricken areas has been incredible. $350 million from the US government alone, not counting private donations, a staggering $500 million from Japan, with worldwide relief efforts reportedly reaching $2 billion. Doctors Without Borders has received enough donations to cover everything they expect to be able to do in the area, and are asking people to donate to their general fund instead, to help relieve other humanitarian crises. And there’s talk of both building a warning system in the Indian Ocean and improving the system in the Pacific [archive.org]. Robert Cringely has even suggested harnessing the Internet as a warning system, though in this case, many of the hardest-hit areas were still missing lines of communication.