India Should Accept Disaster Assistance
India is a proud country that prefers to rely on its own resources. But when its resources are nowhere near sufficient to meet the needs of its people – who are suffering in the wake of devastating floods in the state of Kerala – it is irresponsible to reject aid from friends whom India would help if the tables were turned.
NEW DELHI – India’s southern state of Kerala has been hit by the worst floods in nearly a century. Now that the floodwaters are receding, a peculiar debate has emerged over whether India should accept foreign aid to support reconstruction.
At the peak of the floods, the Indian government allocated money from the National Disaster Response Fund for immediate relief. But it was the public that really stepped up, with an outpouring of contributions to the Kerala government’s disaster relief fund that amounted to more than twice the funds so far provided by the national authorities.
In fact, the total additional assistance the government has provided – $90 million (with promises of an unspecified additional amount) – amounts to less than half of what the state government was requesting for immediate relief. It does not even begin to cover long-term reconstruction costs, estimated at over 50 times that figure.