Foreign Aid: How Much Will Really Go to the Victims?

The initial aid pledges were generous, but governments will have to follow up on their word

With nearly $4 billion pledged in tsunami relief so far, the governments of the world's wealthiest countries have sought to lay to rest doubts about the largeness of their largesse. But the sobering backdrop to that rush of official sympathy is a sorry history of half-finished aid efforts. The Iranian city of Bam, for example, where an earthquake killed some 30,000 people in December 2003, has so far seen only $17 million of the $1.1 billion in aid pledged by foreign governments at the time of the disaster, Iran's leaders say. To do better this time, rich countries will have to...

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