While France, US and other countries duel it out (via Metafilter), trying to prove they are the most generous (US is currently leading at $350 million), India has refused aid from other Governments. They will still take aid from United Nations and other non-Governmental organizations, but not from other Governments. At first blush, this is a stupid idea – why stop anyone from helping? There are people who need help – there are Governments willing to help. But, as the escalating aid figures from US and Europe show, such aid is a political instrument. It comes with strings attached (even if the strings are invisible). And in the day of the internet, who needs Govts – people can help each other directly (as they are doing – in so many generous, creative ways).
In other news, how one phone call saves an entire village. That is all one needs – a phone and a Public announcement system in every village.