Sunday, January 24, 2010

Canada telethon raises $16m for Haiti

Updated on : Sunday, January 24, 2010

MONTREAL: A televised fundraising drive in Canada featuring Celine Dion and other local stars raised more than 16 million Canadian dollars (15.2 million US) for victims of Haiti's earthquake, organisers said.

Singers including Dion, Diane Dufresne and the group Tragically Hip lent their voices to the event broadcast live on television and radio on Friday night in English and in French.

Celebrities appealed to Canadians to give funds for survivors of the January 12 disaster, which killed more than 111,000 people, left more than 600,000 homeless and laid waste to much of the Haitian capital.

"We have to hold out our hands and help these people, so I ask you to be very generous, to come together for Haiti," said Dion, who made a donation of 500,000 Canadian dollars (475,000 US) with her partner and manager Rene Angelil.

Canadians responded by donating 16 million Canadian dollars in two hours, organizers said. The funds will go to aid organizations including the Red Cross.

So far Canadians have given a total of 83 million Canadian dollars (78 million US) in aid for the stricken Caribbean nation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Saturday that the Canadian government would continue to match the donations of its citizens, despite last week fixing a ceiling of 50 million dollars (47 million US).

Also on Friday, Hollywood stars led by heartthrob George Clooney and top musicians held a huge fundraising drive for Haiti live on US television, although it is not yet known how much that event raised.

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