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Stars come out to help quake victims with telethon fundraiser

A star-studded telethon fundraiser was launched on Friday to help the Haiti relief effort. Organised by George Clooney in association with relief agencies, the show featured some of the biggest names in film and pop music such as Madonna (pictured).


AFP - Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney led a galaxy of stars Friday in a telethon fundraiser for Haiti's earthquake victims.

The telethon, one of the biggest such events since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was broadcast across every major US television network.

Featuring some 130 celebrities and presented by music channel MTV, the telethon "Hope for Haiti Now" came as the Caribbean nation struggled to recover from the deadly January 12 disaster.

Haiti is "a tragedy that reaches across all borders, all boundaries," Clooney said, and "at the core of every religion is the belief that we take care of one another."

"The Haitian people need our help. They need to know they are not alone," he told the national audience.

Star acts lined up for the telethon included Madonna, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Jennifer Hudson who will unveil "a song you never heard her sing before," Clooney said.

"We're gonna have some amazing performances and I think that's gonna make it last a little longer than just a telethon," Clooney said.

The event aired across MTV, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, HBO and other major networks.

Joining in hosting the program were CNN's star reporter Anderson Cooper in Haiti and rapper Wyclef Jean in New York.

Facebook and MySpace were helping to drum up aid, while donors could also go online at, or give over the phone by dialing 877 99-HAITI, or by just texting the word "GIVE" to 50555.

Clooney says he will donate one million dollars of his own money.

Hollywood megastar Leonardo DiCaprio, announced Thursday that he was also giving one million dollars to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, while Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie donated one million dollars earlier to help aid group MSF's operations in Haiti.

The 7.0-magnitude quake killed at least 75,000 people and left half a million homeless.

Friday's telethon had few parallels over the last decade, said Charity Navigator, an organization monitoring charities across the United States.

A telethon was held in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York and the Pentagon. Also hosted by Clooney, the event was simulcast across 35 network and cable channels, raising about 150 million dollars.

Another big telethon took place after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, but that was broadcast only on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and less major channels. About 40 million dollars was raised.

NBC and its affiliated networks broadcast a telethon in aid of victims of the Asian tsunami in 2005, raising 18 million dollars.

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