August 30, 2007
Two weeks after the massive earthquake near Pisco, Peru, many thousands of people remain homeless and without even a tent for a shelter. Sanitary conditions are awful, and medical supplies are extremely scarce. The United Nations is requesting $37 million from the international community for relief efforts in Peru. Officials are beginning to make plans for a long-term rebuilding effort, amidst grumbles of discontent with government inefficiency. See BBC.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent responded by releasing $205,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, but much more is needed. The American Red Cross is making an appeal for donations to its International Response Fund. Various Red Cross organizations have a permanent warehouse full of relief supplies located in Panama.
President Lula da Silva's former chief of staff, Jose Dirceu, has been charged with illegal fundraising, yet another corruption scandal. He ran what was basically a vote-buying scheme under which da Silva got Congress to cooperate with his agenda, but it didn't yield much success. Somehow da Silva manages to weather the storms, but his credibility and popularity are eroding little by little. BBC. If he doesn't put his foot down and demand better behavior from his political allies, the historic opportunity for the Left to show that it can govern responsibly in Brazil would be squandered. While that might seem fine from a conservative point of view, it would leave many poor people disillusioned and even more tempted to turn to crime to make a living.