Donations for the victims of the earthquake that ripped through Pakistan and India have not come close to the level of giving that followed the tsunami that wreaked havoc around the rim of the Indian Ocean and Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed a huge swath of the Gulf Coast. But relief organizations and fund-raising experts say the generosity directed toward the victims of those disasters was aberrational and should not be used as a yardstick to measure giving for other emergencies.
"Giving for the tsunami was literally off the charts," said Patrick Rooney, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which tracks giving. "There may be an issue of donor fatigue, it's too early to tell, but it looks like giving for the Pakistan earthquake is more typical of the historical response by U.S. donors to international emergencies."
Before the tsunami, the biggest amount collected by the American Red Cross for an international disaster was $50 million. The Red Cross collected $556 million for tsunami relief.
Overall, $1.3 billion was collected for the tsunami relief and $1.8 billion has been collected for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
[Excerpted from an article by Stephanie Strom, The New York Times]