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The panel raised important issues. Is money going to disaster relief being diverted from food aid programs elsewhere? Their suggestion was to ask legislators these questions. No one is, because they may not know to ask.

I do not mean countries should not being giving money for relief, but it is important to understand where the money comes from.


Of the $80 million pledged by my government in addition to private donations of $40 million so far, $20M was from funds already committed to environmental aid (mostly to Indonesia) over several years, now relocated to water purification (equipment etc). It was explicitly stated by the prime minister that everything else was new funds which will not diminish planned aid to other countries in need.

Legislators should indeed be asked these questions; in most cases they will probably answer, reluctantly if they are planning cuts in other aid to finance emergency relief.

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