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Web firms pitch in for tsunami relief

Online companies lend bandwidth to efforts to help out in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami.

2 min read
In the aftermath of the devastating Asian tsunami disaster, the Web has become a vital tool for charities and for individuals seeking information on missing family and friends.

Many charities are accepting online donations to help fund their disaster relief efforts. Google has pulled together details of 13 charities that are accepting online donations, which it links to from its home page.

Amazon.com is letting its users donate to the American Red Cross using its 1-click payment system.

In the United Kingdom, the Disaster Emergency Committee--a coalition of 12 major charities--which admits that traffic to its appeal site is so great that some people could have difficulty making online donations.

"If this is the case, you can make a credit card donation by telephone on 0870 60 60 900 or please, please try later, we need your money," the DEC urged .

As the scale of the tragedy became apparent, major Internet news sites such as BBC Online experienced a large rise in traffic, as Web users sought information. Bloggers also contributed much of the early reporting from the disaster area, posting eyewitness reports and pictures

The death toll following Sunday's earthquake now exceeds 100,000, according to reports. In Thailand, where 1,500 people are known to have died and thousands are still missing, Web sites are being used to show the names of those recovering in hospital, those who have survived, and those who are known to have died. Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a Web site with the all the relevant links.

In addition, an Italian schoolboy is running a Web site to help people track down missing Italian citizens. The site, which was previously devoted to "The Simpsons," has already helped to find two holidaymakers.