More than 3 million people have texted "HAITI" to 90999 to make a $10 donation
Hundreds of thousands of cell phone users have made $10 donations to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund by sending the word "Haiti" to 90999, raising a record-shattering $32 million in mobile giving for the ongoing relief efforts.
The mobile giving program was established within hours of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti through the efforts of the U.S. State Department, Mobile Accord/mGive Foundation, CTIA – The Wireless Association, and the American Red Cross.
The text "Haiti" to 90999 has been an easy and efficient way for people to lend their support to those affected by the earthquake, and has been widely promoted during major televised events such as the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards and through public service advertisements by First Lady Michelle Obama and by a number of celebrities. For example, a promotion of the text "Haiti" to 90999 during the Super Bowl resulted in a jump in mobile donations that pushed the total past $32 million.
Donations from the mobile giving program support the American Red Cross relief and recovery work in Haiti.
"Because of the generosity of donors through this mobile giving program, people in Haiti are receiving help following this tragedy, and they will receive resources, support and training from the Red Cross that will help them recover and rebuild for years to come," said Jeff Towers, chief development officer of the Red Cross. "A $10 donation made through mobile giving can provide a family with two water cans to store clean drinking water, basic first aid supplies or a blanket. We are grateful to the more than 3.1 million donors and their mobile phone service providers who waived texting fees and expedited the processing of donations."
The American Red Cross has already received more than $15 million from the text donations thanks to the efforts of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
"This is a great example of rapidly employing modern technology to support a vitally important foreign policy and humanitarian priority. We at the Department of State are gratified at the generous response of the American people in support of the Red Cross' rapid response to the crisis in Haiti," said P.J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the State Department.
"This incredible response is an affirmation of the goodwill of millions of Americans," said James Eberhard, mGive's chairman. "As the leader in the mobile giving space, it was our duty to respond and organize the mobile industry to allow people to give through their mobile phones. As part of this, Mobile Accord donated its services and platform to help in the relief efforts. Over the last four weeks, the mGive Platform saw peak periods processing over $1 million and over 100,000 transactions in under an hour."
Donations to the Red Cross will help with both the short-term relief and long-term recovery of Haiti. The American Red Cross has spent or committed nearly $78 million to meet the most urgent needs of earthquake survivors, with 71 percent of the funds spent or committed for food and water; 20 percent for shelter supplies such as tents, blankets, tarps and sleeping mats; and the rest are for health and family services. In addition, the American Red Cross is also providing blood and blood products for patients in Haiti, along with family-linking services to reconnect those who were separated during the disaster. Creole-speaking volunteers are helping aboard the hospital ship, the USNS Comfort.
The American Red Cross has about 100 relief specialists and volunteers helping with the relief efforts in Haiti (including the Creole interpreters on the USNS Comfort hospital ship). In total, more than 600 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from at least 30 countries around the world are in Haiti working with more than 2,500 Haitian Red Cross volunteers in areas such as health, logistics, and relief supply distribution.
The Red Cross network is producing more than 1 million liters of water per day in Haiti, enough for 300,000 people, and Red Cross distributions of food and relief items (blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, buckets, water containers, laundry soap/detergent, and mosquito nets) have reached nearly 32,000 families (or 170,000 people). In addition, an average of 1,600 patients are being treated each day at the combined six Red Cross health facilities in Haiti, and the Red Cross teams are part of a major vaccination program that started this past weekend to vaccinate 250,000 children, ages 6 weeks to 7 years, against measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.
Government and relief agencies agree it will take many years to rebuild Haiti. The Red Cross is working in close collaboration with other responding organizations to support immediate needs and long-term recovery projects.