Thursday, September 01, 2005

I got tired of all the misinformation and called the United Nations directly. (Hey, I'm near New York -- it was either that or go sit in their lobby).

I spoke to one of their Information Officers from their Press office.

Sue's link in the comments below is correct -- Jan Egeland, who is the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, wrote the formal letter to John Bolton (don't get me started) to let him know that the UN is standing by to help in any way possible. The way the UN is set up, the country must ASK for assistance before the UN can put anything into motion -- and the US hasn't, so there is not much the UN can do offiicially. Teams are standing by to go out, upon request, to help coordinate relief efforts on the ground.

There is a great deal of grass-roots fundraising happening amongst UN employees, not on an official scale, but because it's something they want to to, and people who call the UN asking what they can do, they are guided towards NGO organizations -- which means non-government organizations -- which are handling donations.

They suggested this link:

www.relief.net

to which they are sending people who feel helpless and want to do something.

The emailed news story I was sent earlier with a "transcript" of the meeting that passed a UN resolution on relief is a fake.

This information comes directly from the UN, and I thank my information officer for taking the time to speak to me during such a busy time and answering quesitons. The UN understands the anger and frustration and isolation people are feeling, but until Bolton says, "Yes, we need your help" or "please help" the UN cannot put anything into motion.

But they are standing by.

So why aren't they being asked for help? Uh, Bolton, you DO know how to dial a phone, don't you? The UN teams know what they are doing.

Also, I heard back from Habitat for Humanity. Right now, they are collecting cash donations. When it becomes feasible, they will send trained emergency personnel into the region to do whatever needs to be done; a few months down the line, they will need volunteers to help building.

I will stay in touch with them and post information as I receive it.

The above is verified information.

It is my fault for being taken in by the earlier scam. I was so elated at the thought of international aid FINALLY being offered that I happy-danced first and checked information later. The report was set up to look very legitimate (sort of like those phising emails that claim to be from eBay).

Not only did the f--- send me a scam, but it was a scam with a virus attached. Thank goodness for my updated Virus Protector.

Instead of taking legal action, I have requested that the Karma Dogs deal with it as they see fit. They're a little busy right now, but . . .it's on the list.

Much more effective in the long run.

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