I am, quite frankly, appalled at the shamefully small amount our government has pledged to help the victims of the recent devastating tsunami. You realize how small $15 million really is when it is compared to the more than $40 million pricetag of the upcoming inauguration. (And that figure does not include the security costs.) Whole villages were wiped out; people's livlihoods were utterly destroyed. They not only need immediate help just to survive and prevent disease, they need assistance to rebuild their lives. The United Nations has said this is going to be the greatest relief effort the world has ever seen.
While I certainly don't discourage donating to organizations that are on the scene right away, what is really needed for the long haul is help in rebuilding. Did you know that it only costs $1,600 to build a house in Sri Lanka? Habitat for Humanity is involved in that long term effort. Donating to any relief service is compassion in action.
Here's how to help Habitat and two other worthwhile relief agencies:
Doctors Without Borders Teams from the organization are on the ground in the affected areas to assess medical needs.
Episcopal Relief & Development Providing food, water, temporary shelter, and medicine to affected dioceses in South India, Sri Lanka, and other areas in Southeast Asia.
Habitat for Humanity Staff in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh will help Habitat families in the affected areas and help rebuild houses.