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Tech community joins tsunami relief effort

High-tech companies, workers and Web surfers are rallying to raise millions for the relief effort.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read
As the death toll from the Indian Ocean tsunami continues to mount, technology companies, technology workers and Web surfers are rallying to raise millions for the relief effort.

On Monday, software maker Kintera estimated that more than $350 million has been donated online since a massive earthquake launched a series of tsunamis on Dec. 26.

The company, which provides applications for nonprofit organizations, said that its own clients have raised $50 million online in the last week. It based the $350 million figure on historical fundraising data that shows Kintera clients account for approximately 5 percent to 15 percent of overall online donations.

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 million people around the tsunami-struck region do not have access to the basics they need to stay alive, such as clean water, shelter, food, sanitation and health care. The total cost of damages is estimated at more than $13 billion.

The total number of deaths in countries including Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka has risen to an estimated 150,000.

On Friday, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation announced a $3 million donation, saying that it hopes the donation will encourage others to give to the relief efforts.

"We in the United States understand firsthand what it means to receive support from across the globe in times of crisis. Now it is our turn to show the people of southern Asia how much we care for their survival and well-being," Michael Dell said in a statement. "We encourage people in our country and everywhere to find in their hearts to give generously to these people and the relief efforts."

The pledge from the Dell Foundation came a day after Microsoft announced a donation of $3.5 million.

"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. "Microsoft is committed to helping governments and relief organizations in the recovery effort through financial donations, technical resources and volunteer support."

Microsoft's donation will include $2 million in immediate corporate contributions to local and international relief agencies. The company projects that its matching of employee charitable contributions worldwide will provide an additional $1.5 million in corporate donations to relief agencies.

Networking giant Cisco donated $2.5 million for humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts, as well as pledging communications equipment so relief organizations can communicate from the disaster zones. About $460,000 of the donation was pledged by Cisco employees.

Other companies around the Web are also pitching in for the relief effort. Amazon.com is letting its users donate to the American Red Cross using its 1-click payment system. The site reported that it had raised more than $12 million as of Sunday evening.

Search giant Google has pulled together details of 13 charities that are accepting online donations, which it links to from its home page.

Similar links were posted on the home pages of eBay, Yahoo and MSN.