Wyclef Jean Raises $1 Million for Haitian Earthquake Victims
In the wake of the earthquake that devastated the island of Haiti Tuesday (Jan. 12), singer and activist Wyclef Jean has raised more than $1 million in 24-hours through his Yele Haiti foundation.
"Please text 'Yele' to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti," Wyclef tweeted, spreading the word to millions of people. The text would later appear as a charge on each donors phone bill. "Your money will help with relief efforts. They need our help ... please help if you can." Word soon spread via mobile-friendly networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, causing the Yele Web site to crash late Wednesday (Jan. 13).
According to experts this is the first time that such a large amount of money has been raised so quickly after a disaster has occurred. "This is a watershed moment. It's historic," said Albe Angel, CEO of Give on the Go, which is helping to raise money for Yele Haiti.
Additionally, Jean also released a statement regarding the disaster. "Haiti today faced a natural disaster of unprecedented proportion, an earthquake unlike anything the country has ever experienced," he wrote. "The magnitude 7.0 earthquake – and several very strong aftershocks – struck only 10 miles from Port-au-Prince. I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse. The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince tonight face catastrophe alone. We must act now. President Obama has already said that the U.S. stands 'ready to assist' the Haitian people. The U.S. Military is the only group trained and prepared to offer that assistance immediately. They must do so as soon as possible. The international community must also rise to the occasion and help the Haitian people in every way possible."
The earthquake is the largest to hit the island in 200 years. Although final numbers have yet to be tallied it is believed that the death toll could range in the hundreds of thousands. President Obama pledged $100 million in aid to the country, while other smaller organizations are also doing their part to pitch in. Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pittt donated $1 million to the non-profit organization Doctors without Borders through their Jolie-Pitt Foundation. The couple previously visited Haiti in 2006 alongside Jean in an effort to bring awareness to the poverty stricken nation.
For more information on how to donate to the people of Haiti please visit Yele.com.