The charity Swiss Solidarity has raised CHF17million ($18.4 million) for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, with CHF11 million raised during an all-day drive held on Tuesday.
Prior to the telethon, which ended at midnight, Swiss Solidarity had already collected CHF6.1 million. The charity is the fundraising arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch’s parent company.
The money will be channelled into emergency aid and reconstruction projects after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, killing and injuring thousands of people. Donations are still being accepted.
Individual donations ranged from ten to a few thousand francs, according to Swiss Solidarity. Numerous municipalities, cantons and companies contributed with donations to the tune of tens of thousands of francs.
The employees of telecom company Swisscom donated more than CHF100,000, which the company doubled – promising Swiss Solidarity CHF250,000.
Some 500 people helped man the telethon phone lines at SBC studios in Zurich, Chur, Geneva and Lugano – including Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga.
“The fundraising day proves that major disasters strike a chord across the nation, making the Swiss population show generous solidarity regardless of age, language or income,” she said.
Ladina Heimgartner, president of the Swiss Solidarity Foundation, sees the generosity of the Swiss population as a vote of confidence “in Swiss Solidarity and its 14 partner organisations, which provide survival aid on site under difficult conditions".
The partner relief organisations are already active in the earthquake-affected region. They support hospitals with additional staff and distribute food, water and tarpaulins to cover the most urgent needs. Repairing the water supply systems is also a priority.