Bolivian campaign raises 1.4 mln USD for quake-hit Chile, Haiti

LA PAZ, March 7 (Xinhua) -- A Bolivian fundraising telethon has collected 1.4 million U.S. dollars for quake-hit Chile and Haiti and the organizers have decided to extend the campaign to raise more money, Bolivian Minister of the Presidency Oscar Coca said on Sunday.

The campaign "Chile and Haiti Need You" began on Tuesday and it was originally set to end on Saturday. Coca said the donations stood at about 1.4 million dollars as of Saturday.

Warm response by the public prompted the authorities to extend the fundraising for one more week, and continue to accept donations till next Saturday, said Coca.

The donations came from all parts of the country, including senior government officials headed by President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia.

A few days ago both Morales and Garcia announced the decision to donate half of their one-month salaries for the campaign.

During his visit to Julio Borelli coliseum, the headquarters of the telethon, Morales urged the Bolivian people to show solidarity with the countries affected by the earthquakes.

The campaign also collected money with cellphone text messages to the state-run Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, or National Company of Telecommunications.

Coca said they received phone calls from different regions of the country requesting the campaign to be extended in order to collect more money.

"We estimate that we will reach at least 1.5 million dollars, an amount that surpass our first goal," Coca said.

Over the past week, Bolivia has also sent 120 tons of bottled water to Chile to aid the victims of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the South American country on Feb. 27.

In January, Garcia took aid to Haiti, including 50 tons of rice, blood and plasma, to aid the victims of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that shook the Caribbean country on Jan. 12.

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