'Disaster Fatigue' Shuts US Wallets

Burma, China donations pale compared to tsunami, Katrina charity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 20, 2008 7:00 AM CDT
People line up to donate their blood for Sichuan earthquake victims at a blood donating vehicle Thursday, May 15, 2008 in Shanghai, China.    (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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(Newser) – Americans’ donations to disaster relief this year fall far short of money given to victims of the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina—and it’s likely due to “disaster fatigue," say experts. With tragedies like Burma’s cyclone and China’s earthquake quickly piling up, people may feel they can’t make a difference, AP reports. As of Friday, Americans had given $12.1 million to Burma, while the tsunami garnered $1.92 billion in US donations.

“It's too much pain, too much tragedy for someone to process, and so we tend to pull ourselves away from it,” said a psychology professor.