I was planning to resume blogging in the New Year, after a peaceful rant-free holiday. But I’m afraid I just can’t leave the subject of the international aid effort for the south Asian tsunami disaster alone.

Let’s recap for a moment. Today we’re told at least 60,000 people have died and as many people again could die as a result of communicable diseases caused by destruction of sewers, overcrowding, lack of medical care, malaria, dengue fever and so on. Sri Lankan survivors have to contend not only with the loss of their homes but landmines floating out of known mine sites and into unknown areas, exploding randomly just as a displaced family thinks they’ve found shelter.

Parents have lost children. Children have lost parents. Entire families were wiped out in minutes: drowned, dashed against rocks, trapped in crushed buildings or vehicles.

Survivors’ stories speak volumes. Some are almost unbearably poignant. On one BBC messageboard, Darshanie from Sri Lanka wrote:

“I heard someone who said that she lost two (out of four) of her children. She said that she didn’t know which one to pick up because she couldn’t carry them all.”

Words can barely express the devastation this disaster has wrought. It is a humanitarian tragedy on a vast scale.

Which leads me onto my point.

So far, just £41.5m ($80m) of aid money has been pledged by international governments.

That’s right. The equivalent of a handful of loose change to rich Western governments.

The USA made an initial pledge of $15m, which was derided by the UN as contemptuously “stingy”. They then increased it to $35m.

To put this in perspective, remember the USA is spending several hundred billion dollars on their Iraq invasion alone. I’d be interested to learn how much money was given by federal government and international charity fundraising when around 3,000 Americans were killed in a World Trade Center terrorist attack back in 2001. If anyone has figures for this, please do let me know.

Britain is giving £15m in aid. Hilary Benn, secretary of state for international development, deflected calls for more aid to be given by the UK.

To put this sum in perspective, the 2012 Olympic bid is costed at just under £2.4 billion.

Benn, like representatives of other governments, has the gall to imply that the bulk of the vital aid funds – the substantial remainder which is not covered by official international aid – must come from the general public.

And we will do it, because we know what’s at stake. Now is not the time to make a stand. We will give all we can afford, because there’s a huge shortfall. Every missing chunk of aid equates to a human life.

But, yet again, our supposed representatives are letting us down. They are letting humanity down. Our government squanders our hard-earned tax on unsupported wars and pointless ID card technology, while ignoring pleas for help from the poorest and most vulnerable in our country. Pensioners freeze while the rich get richer. New “Labour” has continued this Tory trend. None of this surprises us.

So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us now to see it fling a few coins at a monumental catastrophe and expect the survivors to be grateful it bothered at all. It’d be funny if it weren’t so horrific.

This paltry aid contribution is a disgrace to the Western world.

If you think your government can afford to give a lot more than it has, let your representatives know about it.

Meanwhile, let’s make sure we give some of our own money to help the rescue and rebuilding efforts. Because someone has to.