The world has mobilised an unprecedented relief operation to help the victims of Asia’s tidal wave. As the death toll climbs to at least 150,000 and many more are left homeless and hungry, nations have pledged one and a half billion euros. In the US, the disaster has brought together former political rivals George W. Bush senior and Bill Clinton. They are spearheading a massive private fundraising campaign at the request of President Bush.
The United Nations has raised pledges or donations totalling a record 1.1 billion euros. As for individual country contributions, Japan tops the generosity league with 371 million euros. The US has offered the second biggest donation. In Europe, Scandinavian countries which were particularly hard hit are digging deep into their pockets, with Italy and Britain also providing large sums.
The catastrophe has also triggered a huge response from private donors. Sweden raised more than 37 million euros through telephone appeals alone. In Britain, the sizeable Sri Lankan and Indian communities have been credited with prompting a generous response.