Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Little Tsunami Linkage

As you're probably aware, the toll keeps climbing in the Asian tsunami disaster. Without telling you something you don't already know, ASZ isn't the best place on the web to get a sense of what's going on over there. However, here's a quick guide to some up-to-date information that I've found over the past few hours:

Unfiltered, non-American-centric news update: BBC News - Asia Quake Update

Raw video footage: here, here, and here. (Warning - not terribly dialup friendly, as these are fairly large Windoze media files.)

Best ongoing disaster blog commentary: Steve Gilliard

Best commentary on commentary from a fellow Garden Stater, and how you can help: Brilliant at Breakfast (also, click through to the B@B main page for more...)

Sixth Sense: The animals knew something was up

Stingy: A great article on opportunitic "journalistic" hackery. I mean, we already know the fringe-right wingnuts want to get rid of the U.N. How's a disaster that kills scores of people sound like for an excuse?

If anyone has more links (timely and newsworthy) to add that aren't covered in the above, leave them in the comments and I'll hook 'em up.

Update, 10AM: My own comments - we're getting to the point where numbers are both meaningless and devastating, in terms of human impact and relief efforts. I just heard the number 71,000. It's hard to process that -- a death toll equivalent to the entire population of Venice, Italy. No amount of relief effort is going to help such a wide area of the globe recover anytime soon.

Update, 12:40PM - Caveat Emptor
A quick word of warning (like any of you smart people need it anyway...)

In situations such as the disaster in Asia where we have little to no individual direct control of events, it's natural to heed the call for donations and assistance. Opportunities to donate for tsunami / earthquake relief are sprouting like mushrooms after a summer rain. But like any distaster of any magnitude, the charlatans and ripoff artists abound. Someone will try to make a buck out of someone else's misery.

Before you click that "donate" button, conduct a little due diligence on the organization you're funding. If you're at all unsure about the legitimacy of an organization, heed your bullshit detector, and stick with credible relief efforts being organized by outfits such as American Red Cross / Red Crescent or OxFam International.

Also, on TV I'm seeing people collecting toys, food, clothes, etc. Use your brain. Even the most well-intentioned individuals who are spearheading such relief drives don't know what they're getting into. It will be months (if ever) before any of these hard goods make it to the affected area. These items are still well available in the affected areas -- it's the money that's critical.

Just some unsolicited advice from someone who's been there before...