Monday, January 25, 2010

At least $58 million raised by "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon

The "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, shown Friday on 25 different networks around the world, had by Saturday raised $58 million, with organizers saying that donations continue to be received.

Hosted jointly, from three different locations, by Wyclef Jean, George Clooney and CNN's Anderson Cooper, the telethon featured performances from some of the best-known names in music. Anderson Cooper was actually reporting live from Haiti, struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12, during the event. And in addition to viewers being able to watch the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Shakira, Beyonce, and Mary J. Blige perform some of those calling in to make donations had, says MTV, the opportunity to speak to one of more than 100 of the biggest names in film, television and music who were helping professional operators man the phones.

Jon Stewart, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood were among those thanking callers for their donations and CNN reports that one donor was told by the actress Reese Witherspoon: "Thank you so much for your donation. You can't imagine how much love and great, wonderful energy is here today. People are doing everything they can to make a difference in these people's lives."

The figure of $58 million includes donations made by phone, online and mobile but not those that have been promised by corporations. Nor does it include the largest of the private donations or the money generated by iTunes sales.

MTV, the production company responsible for the telethon - developed in conjunction with George Clooney and setting a new record for donations by the general public to a televised event raising funds for disaster relief - confirms that the "Hope for Haiti Now" album is "the biggest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history ", having gone to number one in 18 different countries.

In addition "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)", the track that Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna prerecorded in London for the telethon, which had the official title "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief", is currently the most popular iTunes song in 12 countries.

Donations for "Hope for Haiti Now" will be accepted for another six months and the money received will be distributed to seven organizations working to bring relief to the survivors of the Haiti earthquake, including a fund established by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme, Yele Haiti Foundation and the Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation/Fund are the seven organizations in question.

With the exception of the fund set up by Mr Clinton and Mr Bush the other organizations were, notes MTV, selected because of their "history of operation and collaboration within the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community in Haiti".

On Sunday the government in Haiti announced an official death toll of 150,000. In recent days the final toll was being estimated at 200,000, a figure that has apparently been revised upwards to 300,000.

To make a donation please visit The Red Cross website.

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