Improving the Effectiveness of Tsunami Relief Efforts: A Concept Paper

This paper proposes two changes that I believe will make Tsunami relief efforts more effective. The first moves the detailed logistics system of the UN relief coordinator into the public domain. The objective of this change is to establish increased ability for outside groups to provide technology and data; to ensure more rapid access to updated information for all working in the region; and for increasing donor confidence in how the relief effort is being run. The second change increases the amount and quality of information collected on pledges and establishes a more formal tracking of pledge fulfillment and application.

While the dollar value of pledges from around the world continues to rise, this is only one critical-path item in the relief. The UN estimates that 5 million people in South East Asia are without basic services. Disease risks are high, compounding the lack of back necessities and severe trauma the affected population faces. Tens of thousands of lives rest on effective deployment of aid in the coming weeks and months. Within the United States, former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush provide an extremely high-profile face on continued fundraising for disaster. It is my hope that they will also work to improve the organization of relief efforts.