"We spent all last year trying hard to raise awareness about western Sudan, and it just didn't resonate. In the past two weeks, as many people died from AIDS as died in the tsunami. The money the government has pledged is the equivalent of what CIDA has spent on all humanitarian catastrophes this past year. I hate to compare wounds, but we've got to make damn sure that it doesn't suck assistance away from people who are suffering from conflict in Congo, who are suffering in Darfur. Our fear is that it's going to warp foreign policy or the actions of some agencies. This outpouring of generosity and goodwill is fantastic. We're saying, 'How can we translate this into global support for making the world better for many people?'"
DAVID MORLEY , executive director, Doctors Without Borders Canada
"It's going to be everyone's job to follow up, whether it's the UN, civil society groups, the press, the public or the states, to make sure we do what we say we're going to do. We saw in the Bam earthquake in Iran that there was an outpouring of goodwill and a lot of talk of pledges, but so far only something like $116 million has actually been contributed [of the billion promised]."
STEPHANIE BUNKER , spokesperson, UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs
Poor further behind
"The Canadian government is actually better than most. It usually makes quite modest pledges, then almost always delivers. Many other governments make bigger pledges, then don't come through (and) communities get ever more impoverished. They may be fed in the short run. They may even be paid to do some cleanup, but if they don't get their assets back, they slip ever further into a cycle of desperation and poverty."
RIEKY STUART , executive director, Oxfam Canada
Canada can be proud
"The DART team is an example of an instrument that is terribly inefficient and inappropriate for most situations. The kind of money it takes to run and maintain that operation is something that really should be reassessed. That's not to say it can't do really useful things. Even if the instrument is not the right one, I've never seen the Canadian government operate as quickly [as it has] in these disasters on multiple country bases. In the field it has not been perfect, but it has been something that as Canadians we should be proud of."
PAUL EVANS , security specialist, University of British Columbia, acting director, Liu Institute for Global Issues
"Whether it's possible to distribute this aid is the interesting question. In a number of these areas there may be military or naval bases and governments won't want people coming in and snooping around. That's happening in India and could well be the problem in Burma, where casualties are probably much higher than they're letting on. What scares me is the discussion in the United States around whether aid money should be used to perhaps encourage these countries to open up their economy or change some of their policies. [Using aid] as leverage is really not very helpful. It could lead to a backlash."
RICHARD STUBBS , professor of political science, McMaster University