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Sweden donates more than the US

The Swedish donation to the survivors of the devastating disaster in South East Asia is more than twice the amount donated by the United States, the world’s richest nation.

Sweden is donating SEK 500 million (USD 75.6 million) in relief aid, reported the Swedish paper Aftonbladet. The US is donating USD 35 million. Norway has decided to increase its donations by doubling the original amount and has now allocated NOK 100 million (USD 16.5 million) to the survivors of the disaster.

The amount the US decided to donate has created reactions. The Norwegian UN Undersecretary Jan Egeland, who is in charge of UN’s emergency relief coordination, stated Monday that rich countries are too stingy when it comes to emergency aid.

«I don’t understand why they are so stingy. If a country donates 0.1 or 0.2 percent of GDP in foreign aid, I don’t think that is particularly generous,» Egeland said at the press conference Monday.

Egeland was forced to modify his statement when President George Bush became furious. Bush claimed Egeland was «very misguided and ill informed» and claimed that the amount allocated was only the beginning. However the American institution, the New York Times, completely agrees with Egeland’s statements. In an editorial under the headline «Are We Stingy? Yes» printed Thursday, the New York Times states that «Mr. Egeland was right on target.»

The paper continues by pointing out that USD 15 million first allocated was less than half of what the Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.

The US has now increased the amount to USD 35 million, but the paper states that it «remains a miserly drop in the bucket.» The editorial concludes by stating that it hopes Bush will keep his promise of USD 35 million only being the beginning. Only time will tell.

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