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Tsunami Donations: Following the Money

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Billions of dollars of tsunami relief aid are pouring into South Asia. Watchdog groups advise donors to give to well-established nonprofits, which deliver a high percentage of each donated dollar to those in need; this can vary from MAP International (99 cents of every dollar) to the American Red Cross (91) to Oxfam America (77). Here, how a charity with offices on 37th Street, Action Against Hunger (90 cents per dollar), can turn a donation from Manhattan into safe drinking water for a Sri Lankan village.

1. Donation is made in New York.

2. The money is transferred to AAH headquarters in Paris, the coordination center for tsunami relief.

3. The donation helps stock the organization’s warehouse in Igualada, Spain, near Barcelona, which contains such relief supplies and sanitation materials as water, tanks, pumps, pipes, water-testing kits, and chlorine tablets.

4. The supplies are loaded onto a Russian-made Antonov 12N plane at El Prat airport in Barcelona.

5. The plane lands in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Materials are then put on a truck and sent to Batticaloa.

6. Action Against Hunger coordinates with the local authorities to decide on the best location for the delivery. The whole process takes 48 hours.


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