It's called Living and dying in the shadows and has some good things to say about the level of level of emergency humanitarian aid the world allocated to disasters in 2005 - it hit USD 17 billion, more than any other year on record.
That's all well and good, but things start to come apart at the seams a little when one pokes a stick under the rock of where the money actually went and who benefitted most.
Desipite the record sums allocated to disasters, the IFRC says "millions still missed out on vital, potentially life-saving aid because funds were directed at high-profile disasters, while countless other crises were neglected."
The list below (from Reuters Alertnet) shows the break down of the aid per person as it was disbursed in 2005.
Aid per person in 2005 crises
While no one is saying that people affected by the tsunami didn't deserve every cent of that $1241, what makes people suffering from a protracted conflict in west Africa any less deserving?
The table above doesn't include the US's Hurricane Katrina, which generated donations only slightly lower than the tsunami.
The IFRC argues that governments and private donors should allow aid agencies to use money as they see fit. In other words they should end the practice of earmarking funds for particular regions or disasters. This will be a difficult process and the IFRC faces an uphill battle.
Donor governments like to be able to politicise the funds they give to multilateral agencies and international NGOs, and announcing publicly that you are giving $1 billion to tsunami victims generates more and better publicity (and potentially votes) than annoucing you are giving that same amount to several humanitarian agencies for their critical work around the world.
The same issue is faced for private donations. People are often moved to give money by the images they see on television news. This means that in the aftermath of a large disaster more money flows in than at other times. The American Red Cross' experience after the 11 September 2001 attacks is illustrative.
As the donations rolled in the ARC discovered it had more money than it could sensibly to address the needs of the victims (over USD 500 million) and decided to use the left over funds for other (equally worthy) causes. Their plan to do so was greeted with massive public outrage and a reversal was speedily issued and all the money went to victims' families, who received about USD 18,000 each (which makes the tsunami amounts look piddling). See here, here and here, for example.
This highlights the difficulties faced by humanitarian organisations which would prefer to have the flexibility to maintain ongoing support to ongoing issues (Congo and Ivory Coast are just two examples) and respond to other disasters as they emerge.
That people are willing to give their time and money when big disasters occur is laudable, but until people realise that the daily cumulative total of death and destruction from ongoing humanitarian situations is far in excess of any single disaster and that supporting the organisations that are working to assist those in need who don't make the 6 o'clock news on an ongoing basis is far more effective than making a one off donation in the aftermath of a sensational (and frequently sensationalised) disaster.