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Online media matters

Living Can Kill You

Canadian relief sites clogged

The Globe and Mail listed five sites accepting donations to help ease the horrors occuring as a result of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami, half are slow or not responding. Although it could be coincidental, I’d like to believe Canadians are flooding humanitarian aid sites.

When the World Vision site is accessible, the server ends up crashing. The Red Cross does load, but is extremely slow. Méldecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam Canada, and UNICEF all responded fine (although Oxfam’s donation page times out and the other two don’t have an option to direct the funds for relief in South Asia — they do have an option to put the funds toward the most needed area).

Like me, Canadians sending donations online likely had to do some hunting just to find the those sites. Unlike many American Web sites that are soliciting donations from their homepages, few Canadian sites are. In fact, despite their American siblings’ efforts, the sites for Amazon Canada or Apple Canada are still hawking their wares (to be fair, so is chapters.indigo.ca. Even Charity.ca makes no mention of it. Ticketmaster does, though.

For relief agencies in other countries, the Wikipedia has a large, if not authoritative list.

Update: In less than 100 hours, individual Canadians have donated more than $20 million relief aid, two-thirds of that is estimated to have come from online donations. The Red Cross alone has received more than $9 million online.

On the last morning of 2004, all the sites seemed to be functioning well and have added this disaster as a place you can direct your funds to. So, if you haven’t yet done so, please consider a donation.

Also, Amazon.ca has updated its homepage to appeal for donations and chapters.indigo.ca has added a button to its site.