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Thursday 30 December 2004

Technology and its impact on relief

Internet speeds contributions for tsunami victims:
Faced with searing images of suffering and grief in South Asia, Americans are finding an instantaneous way to reach out to tsunami victims: on their home computers. At Amazon.com alone, more than 53,000 people had donated more than $3 million by yesterday evening after the company made an urgent appeal on its home page. Catholic Relief Services was so overwhelmed with Web traffic that its site crashed. Online donations to the Red Cross outstripped traditional phone banks by more than 2 to 1.

'The great equalizer'
Unlike bigger groups, "we don't have a huge fundraising apparatus or staff. We don't have sophisticated appeals going out of phone banks,'' said Nancy Aossey, president and chief executive of International Medical Corps. The Los Angles-based humanitarian relief and development agency has been providing crisis care in Indonesia since 2000.

Aossey said much of the $160,000 the corps has raised has been through its Web site. One man donated $5,000 online after reading about the group in a newspaper.

In the world of fundraising, Aossey added, the Internet is "the great equalizer."

Source: MSNBC
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