American charities overwhelmed by response to appeals

Click to follow
The Independent US

The compassionate response in the United States to the terrorist attacks has been swift and generous, with Americans already having donated $55m (£37m) in aid.

President George Bush said yesterday that charities were overwhelmed by the response and urged people to continue giving money, clothing and food to the relief effort. "We will fight terrorism on all fronts. We will not be terrorised so that our hearts are hardened," he said from the White House.

General Electric has offered $10m to establish a fund for emergency workers who died trying to save people in the World Trade Centre. The internet specialist Cisco Systems has donated $6m to the Red Cross.

Countless other companies and organisations have set up their own collection funds and individual shops have promised to donate their takings for a day.

In Kansas, a television station received $514,000 earmarked for the American Red Cross in pledges from viewers during a "telethon".

The entertainment industry also lined up to make pledges. Michael Jackson and Britney Spears were among those planning to record a song, "What More Can I Give", to try to raise more than £30m for survivors and families of the victims. Jackson, who is leading the project, said: "I believe that the music community will come together as one and rally to the aid of thousands of innocent victims."

Madonna, who is currently on tour, pledged the proceeds from a show in Los Angeles to victims' families.

Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Jim Carrey are reported to have "tentatively" agreed to appear in a two-hour telethon on Friday, to be shown by America's main broadcasters.

The actress Whoopi Goldberg has also announced she will organise a Comic Relief-style event.

In Britain, 19 City companies have backed a new charity, the World Trade Centre Disaster Fund, with a promise to match its employees' contributions pound for pound.

The fund chairman, Lord Levene, the vice-chairman of Deutsche Bank and a former lord mayor of London, said: "It is the very least that we can do to show our solidarity with those who work in our industry in New York, and to those brave men and women who came to their assistance."

The global news network Reuters has set up an online fund and has donated $1m. Six members of staff from the group are still missing after the New York attacks.