'Canada for Haiti' stars make pleas for help
Published Friday, January 22, 2010 11:25PM EST
Celebrities from Canada and around the world united Friday evening in a special television event to raise money for Haiti.
Host George Clooney was joined by performers like Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen for the telethon, which ran commercial-free on CTV, CBC and Global.
It was preceded by a one-hour Canadian telethon that featured some of Canada's best-loved celebrities -- including Nelly Furtado, James Cameron and Celine Dion. It was hosted by CTV's Ben Mulroney, Global's Cheryl Hickey and CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos
- Anyone who wants to donate can call 1-877-514-2484. The line will be open through February.
Just hours after the Canadian benefit finished, it was announced that $9.4 million had been raised. The federal government matched those contributions, bringing the total to $18.8 million.
The Jan. 12 quake in Haiti has killed an estimated 200,000 people and has left millions more in the impoverished nation homeless.
Speaking from Montreal, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean said that the crisis has touched people from across the country, from big cities all the way to small communities in the Arctic.
"People were all asking one thing: what can we do," she said.
"As a very proud Canadian, words cannot begin to express how inspired I feel -- inspired I am -- to see millions of others mobilize your families, your friends, your entire communities, really, to support Haiti."
While the situation is grim, Jean said that the crisis can be overcome because the world is responding.
"We know that it has to be a shared responsibility to make sure we will come out of this ordeal stronger."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a special taped message, asked that Canadians give generously for Haiti's relief.
"Entire families have been killed; thousands of injured people wait for treatment; hundreds of thousands have lost their homes," said Harper. "The lucky among them live in tents."
Donations are being collected by recognized groups like the Canadian Red Cross, Care Canada, Plan Canada and UNICEF Canada.
Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada, said that nine aid agencies will share the benefit's proceeds equally.
"This is a way that everyone can really make a difference," said Toycen, who recently returned from Haiti.
Toycen stressed that the situation is so desperate on the ground that many people are giving up hope.
At one point, he said that a mother approached him and attempted to give away her young child, saying: "Take him with you, because there's no hope for him in Haiti."
Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children, said that even before the quake, there were 400,000 orphans in the area of Port-au-Prince.
Since the disaster struck, nobody knows for sure how many orphans there are.
Kielburger said he recently spent a night at an outdoor orphanage in Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of kids have been dropped off since the quake.
"We saw their fear, " said Kielburger.
Other Canadian stars who took part included William Shatner, Rush singer Geddy Lee and writer Margaret Atwood.
"Some things are maybes and others are musts. Haiti relief is a must," said Atwood in a statement released before the show. "Don't hesitate. It could be you."