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US donations to Haiti average $1.64 million per hour

Congress approves special treatment of donations. Major telethon airs tonight.

Starting on the day after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, major American charities have received donations at the average rate of $1.64 million per hour.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday released a report indicating donations of $355 million for the period Jan. 13 through Jan. 21. Do the math and it works out to an average of $1.64 million per hour.

Keep in mind these donations are independent of the US government support and this report excludes international donations. Among Christian groups on the COP list, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision were top recipients, with $19 million and $15 million in gifts, pledges, and cash respectively.

The Chronicle list is any thing but comprehensive. To me, that means Americans are giving more and more quickly to the disaster in Haiti than perhaps any other natural disaster in recent history. Technology is driving charitable giving as never before, and in some cases it makes up more than 60 percent of giving.

But low-tech still works. The Christian school my daughters attend is working with American Airlines to collect sleeping bags for children to airlift them down to Port au Prince. So our family project last night was to pack them up for collection at the school this morning.

There are two other major developments in the US:

* Congress has fast-tracked legislation allowing Americans to take a 2009 tax deduction for giving to the Haiti disaster, before March 1, 2010. All the details are not yet available. But here is one helpful PDF briefing. This will be similar to the tsunami relief effort in 2004.

* This Washington initiative is sure to give a massive boost to the huge telethon that airs tonight on major major cable and broadcast networks. (see You Tube video above.)

In the meantime inside Haiti, government officials are poised to transition from rescue of survivors to relief work and treatment of survivors. The end of the search for survivors has to be a staggering and heart-breaking development for thousands of families, still missing loved ones.

Pray for Haiti and Haiti's church leaders.

If you are in Haiti and have an update for CT, email me:


Christianity Today hopes to have reports from one of our writers on the ground. He is due to arrive there today.

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