U.S. Adds $20 Million to Earthquake Relief

U.S. Adds $20 Million to Earthquake Relief (AP)

The U.S. Agency for International Development is adding $20 million to an initial $15 million contribution for Asian earthquake relief as Secretary of State Colin Powell bristled at a United Nations official’s suggestion the United States has been “stingy.” Confirming the new assistance, Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli also disclosed Tuesday that a large number of missing Americans had been found and were safe. But Ereli said hundreds of others remained unaccounted for and that seven had perished in Sri Lanka and five in Thailand. Describing the $20 million as a “line of credit,” Ereli said the money will be made available to countries devastated by the most powerful earthquake in 40 years. This new total of $35 million is bound to be increased, he said. “We know the needs will grow,” Ereli said.

At the Pentagon, meanwhile, the Navy said the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which had been in port at Hong Kong, had been ordered to sail for the stricken area to provide assistance. A five-ship fleet headed by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard will skip a port call in Guam to sail for the region. Supplies of plastic sheltering, food and water bags are on their way to Indonesia from Dubai in the Persian Gulf.

Powell, irritated by the U.N. official’s criticism, toured morning television talk shows to say the Bush administration will follow up its contributions with additional large sums. “The United States has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world,” Powell said when asked about the comments Monday by Jan Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian aid chief.

Given the enormity of the tragedy, my guess is this aid package will be increased substantially when all is said and done. And that, again, is on top of what will surely be several million dollars in private contributions.

FILED UNDER: Asia,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. anon says:

    Don’t forget corporate donations from American companies which are already piling up.

  2. Gee whiz, they had that extra $20 million on the tee-vee last night (and them’s the Old Media).

    I thought blogs were supposed to be fresh!

  3. Bill Arnold says:

    35 million is like 12 cents per capita, maybe 25 cents per US taxpayer?
    I’m proud that my government has donated 12 cents in my name. I’ve also donated considerably more privately, because, well, 12 cents doesn’t buy very much even in South Asia.

    (How exactly will a US aircraft carrier or other fleet elements help in south asia?)