After the devastating catastrophe of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, a veritable flood of donations reached the relief organisations in Europe. Arguably, the compassion of western donors with the tsunami victims went deep. It seems a paradox, then, that relief in tsunami affected localities has often created resentment. This article argues that the geographies of compassion that result from donations are potentially problematic for two reasons: first, compassion is unevenly distributed towards human suffering depending on the discursively constructed perceptions of a disaster through media coverage. Second, compassion is translated into charity through intermediaries, i.e. relief agencies. These intermediaries close the spatial gap between donors and recipients, but in
the process of doing so, they tend to reproduce the asymmetries of the donor-recipient relationship.