* Digicel Group donating $5 million in cash
* UPS gives $1 million, split into cash and services
* Walmart Canada says stores to accept donations
* Bank of America donates $1 million
* UNICEF requests cash donations
(Updates to add Disney)
By Nicole Maestri
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 13 Companies pledged
millions of dollars in aid on Wednesday to help victims of a
powerful earthquake in Haiti that devastated much of the
impoverished country's capital and killed thousands.
Digicel Group, a top mobile phone operator in Haiti, said
it would donate $5 million in cash toward relief efforts and
appealed to others to help victims of the quake.
Lowe's Cos Inc (LOW.N) is donating $1 million to the Red
Cross' efforts in Haiti. The second largest U.S. home
improvement chain also plans to seek monetary contributions
from its customers, spokeswoman Julie Yenichek said.
Rival Home Depot (HD.N), the largest home improvement
chain, said it will give $100,000 to the American Red Cross.
National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), which will contribute up
to C$250,000 to the Canadian Red Cross, said National Bank
MasterCard cardholders can exchange reward points for a cash
donation to the Canadian Red Cross.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) said it would accept donations
to the Canadian Red Cross in its bank branches, and would make
a C$250,000 corporate contribution.
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) has committed $1 million in
aid, with half going to the American Red Cross for its Haitian
Relief and Development Fund, while cereal maker Kellogg Co(K.N)
has pledged $250,000 to the American Red Cross relief effort.
Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) said it will donate
$1 million in humanitarian aid, including medicines and
Internet services company Go Daddy said it would give
$500,000 to aid quake victims.
Wells Fargo (WFC.N) will contribute $100,000 to the
American Red Cross' disaster relief fund, while BMO Financial
Group (BMO.TO) pledged $250,000 to the Red Cross effort in
FedEx Corp (FDX.N) said it is working with international
relief groups including the Red Cross to fly supplies to the
island once shipments start moving, while United Parcel Service
Inc (UPS.N), which participates in a World Food Program that
helps coordinate delivery of aid to disaster zones, said it
expects to have its volunteers in the program called up soon.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday,
collapsing buildings in the capital Port-au-Prince and burying
people under rubble. As many as 50,000 people could be dead
because of the earthquake, Haiti's president Rene Preval said.
The devastation crippled the government and the U.N.
security and assistance mission which had kept order, and there
were no signs of any organized rescue efforts. [ID:nN13137542]
Haitian Red Cross spokesman Pericles Jean-Baptiste said his
organization was overwhelmed. "There are too many people who
need help ... We lack equipment, we lack body bags," he told
Reuters on Wednesday.
Reports on casualties and damage were slow to emerge due to
PLEA FOR CASH DONATIONS
The best way for corporations to support relief efforts at
the moment is to make cash donations, said Caryl Stern,
president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the United
Nations Children's Fund.
"What we need in the first few days is to enable the
humanitarian workers to do their jobs, to go in and do rescue
and recovery... and that takes cash," she said.
She also said there is an urgent need for water
purification tablets and temporary toilets.
"The biggest risk today is the infection from human debris
in the water system," she said.
UPS also said it planned to provide $1 million in aid, half
in cash and half in services, while the Kraft Foods KFT.N
Foundation said it would donate $25,000 to the American Red
Cross for relief efforts.
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility said it
would pay out $8 million to Haiti based on preliminary data of
the location and strength of the earthquake. [ID:nN13224606]
The disaster pooling facility, launched several years ago
with the support of the World Bank and other donors, said the
payment was about 20 times Haiti's premium for earthquake
coverage of $385,500.
U.S. manufacturer 3M Co (MMM.N), which makes a variety of
bandages and other products used in skin and wound care, said
it was working with humanitarian relief agencies to ask what
medical products it could provide. The company also said it
would likely make a monetary contribution.
The Florida Panthers hockey team said that at its next two
home games it will collect donations, including food and used
clothing, for victims.
Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) and the Rogers family will
donate $250,000 in funds and goods to Partners In Health:Haiti
and other relief organizations.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said it would donate $500,000
to Red Cross emergency relief efforts in Haiti and send
pre-packaged food kits valued at $100,000 to Haiti at the
request of the Red Cross.
It has a website, www.walmartstores.com/haiti, that
customers and employees can use to donate to nonprofits that
support relief efforts.
Wal-Mart's Canadian division said its 314 stores will
accept donations, and money raised will be donated to the
Canadian Red Cross Haiti Earthquake fund.
Wal-Mart won praise for its swift efforts to help victims
of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 after the storm destroyed parts of
Mississippi and Louisiana. Wal-Mart was one of the first
responders on the scene, distributing water, food and other
necessities to some of the hardest hit areas.
Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) pledged $100,000 in humanitarian