Over Rf7 million (US$544,747) worth of aid has been raised during the 37-hour “Maldives for Japan” telethon that was held over the weekend in an attempt to support the people of Japan following a devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Maldives’ largest bilateral donor on 11 March.
A total of Rf5,319,162.69 (US$413,900) along with 119,507 cans of tuna were donated by the people of Maldives.
The fundraising telethon was organised by Male’ City Council and broadcast live in what is thought to be an unprecedented collaborative effort by all of the country’s TV and radio stations.
Musicians and actors teamed up to organise entertainment shows at the tsunami memorial area where more than 30 bands performed over two nights.
A steady stream of Maldivians, often accompanied by children, also queued at the MNBC studio and other locations hosting fund boxes where they could make their contributions.
The single largest donor was trading company CTG, which provided Rf1 million (US$77,800). Chairman of the Villa Group, Gasim Ibrahim, donated tuna cans worth Rf1.3 million (US$101,100).
In his weekly radio address on Friday, President Mohamed Nasheed urged all Maldivians to contribute to the telethon and show solidarity with Japan while Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed led a walk with thousands of participants across the capital later that day.
A moment of silence was observed at 10:45am on Friday (18 March) to mark the moment the earthquake struck.