Americans' Mobile Donations for Chile Paltry

Friday, 12 Mar 2010 10:00 AM

 

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So far, Americans have pledged $100,000 in donations via cell phone for victims of Chile's earthquake compared to more than $43 million raised that way for victims of Haiti's Jan. 12 quake.

The disparity may have to do with the difference in devastation of the two countries, both hard-hit. Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, suffered much greater loss of life and damage than Chile.

"Simply put, all earthquakes are not created equal," said Abi Weaver, senior press officer for the American Red Cross. "The damage and destruction from the Haiti earthquake was far more devastating and widespread than the Chile earthquake. The needs have been seen as far more extensive in Haiti, and the people have responded.

Mobile giving, like giving through other channels, has been less for Chile, which has had, thankfully, less damage and a much lower death toll."

Nearly two months after the Haitian quake, no one really knows how many died, although the government estimates around 230,000 people. More than 1.2 million people lost their homes.

Chile experienced a magnitude-8.8 earthquake Feb. 27 that killed 500 identified victims and potentially hundreds of others, and destroyed or heavily damaged at least 500,000 homes. The country was rocked Thursday by a series of strong aftershocks, including one with a magnitude of 6.9, nearly as strong as the quake that devastated Haiti's capital on Jan. 12.

Mobile-donation campaigns were "up and ready to help within hours" of the Chilean earthquake, said Jim Manis, chairman and CEO of the nonprofit Mobile Giving Foundation.

To read full MSNBC story — Go Here Now.


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