The tragedy of what Cyclone Nargis did to Burma's delta region is almost beyond comprehension.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and Oxfam have estimated that the death toll of 100,000 could be made significantly worse if disease sets in. More than one and a half million people in desperate need of food and water.
So, is it just me or have donors been slow to respond?
Save the Children, Christian Aid, World Vision International and the British Red Cross all began fundraising last Tuesday.
Unfortunately, the military junta in Burma has displayed "sluggishness or suspicion when it comes to taking up offers of overseas and even non-governmental aid." The lack of media access has prevented the worldwide distribution of videos and still images. Are donors getting a free pass as a result?
I mean... after Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami, a lot was written by Convio, NTEN, and others about the lessons learned by nonprofit fundraisers. Rapid response on the internet was supposed to have revolutionized fundraisers ability to raise needed money quickly.
Unfortunately, not only do fundraisers need to react quickly in order to raise the needed funds, but relief organizations have any equally difficult task of trying to figure out how to spend the money that is raised. From last Thursday's Times Online:
A national British appeal was launched today to raise money for the aid effort in Burma. The major overseas aid charities say they will join forces and co-ordinate their fundraising and emergency relief efforts due to the extent of the disaster and the dire need of the Burmese people.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), the umbrella group which represents the 13 biggest aid charities and co-ordinates major disaster appeals, will run the campaign. The DEC took almost two days to make up its mind on whether or not to launch a national appeal, similar to that after the Asian Tsunami.
There have been fears that the charities would struggle to spend a large sum of money effectively due to restrictions placed on their workers by the military dictatorship in the country. The cash raised will go towards not just emergency shelter and food, but reconstruction and rehabilitation afterwards.