A public fundraising day in Switzerland for famine victims in Africa has resulted in a windfall of CHF9.86 million ($9.81 million) – CHF8.76 million of which was raised in just one day.
The Swiss Solidarityexternal link foundation said young people and social media played an important part in the 18-hour campaign on Tuesday.
It told swissinfo.ch that the money raised was a very important sum for an appeal that had so far received very little media coverage. Donations normally pour in automatically after an earthquake, for example.
The foundation said it expected more funds to be pledged over the next few days.
Donations can be made at any time online at www.swiss-solidarity.org or to Post Office account 10-15000-6 (specify “Famine in Africa”).
Swiss President Doris Leuthard launched the special event with an appeal on public radio SRF to contribute to efforts in Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan. She also helped take in donations over a special phone line.
“If we help now, maybe the worst can be averted,” Leuthard said.
More than 500 volunteers across Switzerland participated in the fundraising day organised by Swiss Solidarity in collaboration with the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – swissinfo.ch’s parent company - and Swiss relief organisations.
The main focus of the latest campaign is on providing medical care, especially for small children, according to the foundation.
“Wherever possible, the objective is to improve the livelihoods of the people in the affected areas as quickly as possible with water, agricultural and preventative projects,” a press release said.
Set up in 1946, Swiss Solidarity has collected more than CHF1.7 billion in donations in various campaigns for victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts over the world.
The foundation received a human rights award in recognition of its work in 1999.
[NOTE: A computer glitch meant the total reported at the end of Tuesday was CHF340,000 too high. This has now been corrected.]
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ug