Four months after an earthquake devastated Haiti, Americans have donated $1.3 billion for disaster relief there, almost on a par with their giving after the Asian tsunami in 2004, according to a tally by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Four months after the tsunami struck Asia, Americans had given $1.5 billion, according to figures tracked by the center. Lower giving for Haiti could be the result of the recent recession, says Una Osili, director of research.
The pace for Haiti relief donations trails that of giving by Americans after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
More than half the total for Haiti has been raised by the American Red Cross, which has collected $444 million, and Catholic Relief Services, nearly $136 million, according to a list of relief agencies compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Immediate needs in Haiti are so great that relief organizations are spending faster than they initially expected.
Members of a coalition of aid organizations called InterAction, which include the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Save the Children, have planned to split their funds almost equally between immediate relief and long-term reconstruction in Haiti, InterAction President Sam Worthington says. Now, aid groups may have to choose between meeting immediate needs and rebuilding the country later.
"We have the largest humanitarian disaster in an urban setting since World War II. It is tapping the limits of our capacity to respond," Worthington says. If emergency relief is too expensive, it could eat into the budget for long-term rebuilding, he says.To read full USA Today story — Go Here Now.
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