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Chile earthquake relief: Cellphone donations struggle compared to Haiti

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

(Read caption) Members of the Chilean Military and volunteers load boxes with relief supplies at the airport in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a visit to deliver communication supplies to be used in the earthquake relief efforts.

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After the Chile earthquake on Saturday, cellphone text-message donations raised merely $100,000 in the first four days following the earthquake that rocked South America’s southern coast, which pales in comparison to the $21 million in text-message donations sent to Haiti in half that period.

Whereas $437,500 per hour in text donations poured into Haiti, less than $1,100 per hour has rolled into charities helping in Chile.

“Nothing compares to what was raised for Haiti,” says Christian Zimmern, co-founder and vice president of the Washington-based Mobile Giving Foundation, which started in 2007 and channels text-message donations to a handful of vetted Haiti and Chile charities.

IN PICTURES: Images from the magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile

In total since the Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti’s coast, Americans have donated about $41 million via text messages to the Caribbean island.

While American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and former Fugees rap star Wyclef Jean urged Americans to donate $5 and $10 amounts to Haiti relief using their cell phones, Chile isn’t getting the same attention.

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