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Concert failed, funds arrive

THE JANUARY 22 benefit concert organized in Bratislava by UNESCO for victims of the December tsunami in South Asia turned out to be a flop. While similar fund-raising events abroad have attracted huge amounts of people, there was a disappointing turnout for the five-hour concert featuring local stars Elán, Hex, and Jana Kirschner.
The low attendance poses a question: What went wrong? Was it bad promotion, the wrong choice of artists, or do Slovaks simply lack empathy with the tsunami victims?
The amount of money received by agencies engaged in tsunami relief suggest that empathy is not an issue.


VANDALS damaged a memorial to tsunami victims but money poured in.
photo: Jana Liptáková

THE JANUARY 22 benefit concert organized in Bratislava by UNESCO for victims of the December tsunami in South Asia turned out to be a flop. While similar fund-raising events abroad have attracted huge amounts of people, there was a disappointing turnout for the five-hour concert featuring local stars Elán, Hex, and Jana Kirschner.

The low attendance poses a question: What went wrong? Was it bad promotion, the wrong choice of artists, or do Slovaks simply lack empathy with the tsunami victims?

The amount of money received by agencies engaged in tsunami relief suggest that empathy is not an issue.

Secretary-General of the Slovak Red Cross Bohdan Telgársky said February 1 that donations for tsunami relief have shown Slovaks to be extremely generous.

His organization has collected Sk2.34 million (€58,000) for victims in Asia and has received Sk0.5 million (€12,000) from the Slovak government and Sk0.65 million (€16,500) from private companies to pay for its healthcare team in Sumatra. Telgársky's assessment is that the ongoing tsunami relief campaign is one of the most successful in the 11-year history of the Red Cross in Slovakia.

Jana Vargová of the Slovak arm of Unesco confirmed the positive trend to The Slovak Spectator. "Our fund-raising campaign is one of our most successful," she said.

She added that even though there was a lack of interest in the concert, people are continuing to transfer money to Unesco's tsunami relief account. So far the account holds Sk3.8 million (€94,000).

Another Sk4.3 million (€107,000) has been raised via SMSs to Unicef Slovakia.

Galya Terzieva from the People in Peril Association in Slovakia agreed that Slovaks have been generous with their donations.

People in Peril has raised Sk15 million (€360,000) to date. Terzieva said that companies had shown unusually high interest.

In addition, the media had played an important role in collecting money by promoting and organizing fund-raising events free of charge.

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