‘Donor fatigue’ concerns charities

"Everyone can help, and every dollar contributed will impact someone's life," says former President Bill Clinton.

"The tsunami disaster has affected all of us," adds former President George H.W. Bush on a public service announcement he and Clinton recorded for tsunami victims.

But so much medical aid is pouring into Indonesia’s Aceh province already that Doctors Without Borders says it now has enough money for immediate needs.

"Donations that arrive over and above the donations that we already have, we are not able to assure you that they will be used in operations for the tsunami," says Doctors Without Borders program director Catrin Schulte-Hillen.

Even the Red Cross said Friday it will stop accepting donations for tsunami victims when it reaches $400 million — a figure it will probably reach within the next few weeks.

In fact, some charitable organizations worry that the outpouring of generosity could actually divert aid from less visible tragedies, like in Africa. In eastern Congo alone, the International Rescue Committee reports that almost four million people died in the last few years from disease and malnutrition, without the publicity being given the tsunami disaster.

"There is a danger that world attention fades, there is donor fatigue, or that money gets taken from other programs, including U.S. government money," says Winston Lord, co-chairman of the International Rescue Committee.

Throughout Africa, 6,500 people die each day from malaria, diarrhea and other preventable diseases. Or consider this: Every 18 days as many people die from AIDS worldwide as have perished so far from the tsunami.

So, why do they get less attention?

"Over time, people have seen so many images of poverty-stricken African children that it doesn't have the impact that it did the first time that they saw it," says foreign aid expert Steven Rodelet with the Center for Global Development.

Friday, Oxfam, another aid group, warned that another disaster looms: famine, threatening 3 million people in Ethiopia, but with little notice from the world.