Speaking on CNN’s flagship show, Larry King Live, former President Bill Clinton praised the efforts of Apple and AOL in using their websites for tsunami-relief fundraising.
Apple's international network of sites have been encouraging visitors to donate to relief efforts since December 27. "Our hearts reach out to those hurt by the Indian Ocean tsunamis", Apple's front page has said.
In the UK, over £76 million has so far been raised from public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee, which is coordinating fund-raising for multiple agencies in the UK.
International community acts
The disaster has inspired politicians, citizens and businesses across the globe to act to ease suffering. In a cross-party move announced by current US incumbent, George W. Bush yesterday, Clinton is working with former President George H. W. Bush (father of the current President) to help raise private funds and coordinate US relief efforts to help the stricken countries around the Indian Ocean.
As a result of the catastrophe, over 150,000 lives have been confirmed lost so far, including nationals from across the globe. UN relief agencies anticipate this figure will rise. In addition, up to half a million people are reported injured and millions more have been left without basic supplies, homes or livelihood.
The UN's emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, warned that the total death toll may never be known: "The death toll will grow exponentially on the western coast of Sumatra," he said, "We may be talking tens of thousands of further deaths in this area."
Tech industry plays 'good corporate citizen'
The tech industry is moving to respond to the disaster, with major tech companies digging deep to donate to help in an emergency UN leader Koffi Annan has said may take a decade for affected areas to recover from. Bill Clinton told CNN thousands had already been raised by the efforts of AOL and Apple.
Amazon in the US has raised almost $14 million in its Web site appeal; Cisco has donated $2.5 million; Nortel today announced its plan to donate $700,000 to the Red Cross and Unicef; the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation announced a $3 million donation; Computer Associates has donated $200,000 directly to Unicef; Microsoft's Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, funded by company chairman Bill Gates, has pledged $3.5 million.
Hollywood is also answering the cry for help, with actress Sandra Bullock donating one million dollars, and Leonard DiCaprio promising an undisclosed, yet sizable, contribution to disaster relief.
Constantly updated news concerning the disaster is available from ReliefWeb.
European countries, including the UK, will observe a three-minute silence in remembrance to those affected at noon on Wednesday December 5.